Recognition for Ardglass foster couple

Recognition for Ardglass foster couple

17 May 2017

ARDGLASS foster carers Gerard and Marion Lennon, who have been fostering for 25 years, have received special recognition.

The couple were at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast last week for an awards ceremony where they received a lifetime achievement award.

The ceremony recognised the amazing contribution that foster carers make to young people’s lives in Northern Ireland, with Gerard and Marion recognised for the great work and positive impact they have on the children and young people in their care.

The Ardglass couple, who foster children in the South Eastern Trust area, were nominated for the award by their foster daughter Chloe.

The awards ceremony heard the couple have incredible energy and an immense capacity for caring. In addition to having six children, Marion works in a special needs school and Gerard is a teacher. 

They credit social worker, Doreen Halliday, with encouraging them to become foster carers and in supporting them to remain fostering. Despite receiving a lifetime recognition award, Gerard and Mario say they are not ready to give up for some time yet.

The couple fostered Chloe and her sister almost 20 years ago and have looked after many children during that time. They still have several children with them now and frequently look after new-borns before they go on to be adopted. The couple enjoy getting to know the new parents, supporting the transition and being there if needed. 

Marion told the judging panel about one little girl they looked after who screamed for the first two weeks of life. The foster carer said she simply held her close all that time and eventually one night, while walking the floor, she could feel the tension go out of her. She had the whole panel in tears.

The Ardglass couple still see most of the young people they have fostered and take great joy seeing each child achieve their fullest potential, becoming rounded individuals able to cope with life’s challenges. 

Foster daughter Chloe said for the past 10 years, Gerard and Marion have been caring for three adults with special needs and also looking after Gerard’s brother. 

Chloe added: “Mum and dad have given life and opportunity to people from all walks of life; they have weathered many storms and give their home so openly. They are truly an inspiration.”