Successful Foster Carers Appreciation Day held in Coleraine

Three foster carers receiving gifts from a Northern Trust representative at the recent Appreciation Day

Jean Hayley recognised by the Northern Trust as she prepares to retire after a lifetime of fostering

Three foster carers who have collectively devoted over 90 years to helping children and young people were among those recognised at a recent Appreciation Day hosted by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Jean Hayley, Kay Anderson and Barbara Caldwell from the Ballymoney area, who are the longest serving foster carers in the Northern area, have dedicated their lives to providing short-term, long-term and emergency care to those in need.

The Appreciation Event, held at the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine, was an extra special one for Jean, as she is now preparing to retire.

Throughout her long fostering journey, she has provided care for over 120 children and remains in contact with many of those who shared their homes through the years. She is a previous recipient of the NI Foster Carer of the Year award from the Fostering Network, and in 2012 she was honoured with an MBE alongside her husband Tim for services to children and families.

Encouraging new foster carers to come forward, Jean said: “I would recommend fostering to anyone who believes they can offer a child a safe and loving home.

“There will be bumps in the road but I am testament that working in partnership with children, showing empathy and understanding, can lead to good outcomes.”


Denise Mullan, Senior Practitioner in the Northern Trust’s fostering team, said:

“Our recent Appreciation Day was an opportunity to celebrate the positive impact of our foster carers, and we want to thank all of them for their service and kindness.

“We are blessed to have such amazing foster carers, like Kay, Jean and Barbara, who have always been just a phone call away and willing to help out in any way they could. They are all an integral part of fostering in the Northern Trust.

“To say Jean will be greatly missed is a huge understatement. We wish her a very happy retirement, and thank her for everything she has done through her fostering career.

“We were delighted to see such a great turn out at our Appreciation Day and we hope all our foster carers enjoyed spending time together in this way.

“We are very grateful to Body & Mind, Garvagh who provided a range of complementary and alternative healing therapies, as well as Boots in Coleraine, Heather Stevenson from Take Five Steps to Wellbeing and TES Contracts Ltd for their support and generous donations which helped to make the event such a success.”

Get involved

With 3155 children and young people living in foster care in Northern Ireland and an increasing number of children coming into care, the need for more foster carers has never been greater.

Foster carers are ordinary people who do an extraordinary thing by supporting children and young people at a time when they need it most. There are different ways you can help depending on your lifestyle and family circumstances as not all foster care requires a full-time commitment.

The fostering community is made up of a diverse range of foster carers with lots of different experience and skills. You can foster whether you’re married, a couple or are single, you own or rent your home, you work or are unemployed or whether you are a parent or not.

Enquiries are welcomed from people from all walks of life regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Foster carers receive lots of support, tailored training and ongoing development opportunities as well as financial allowances.

If you think you could make a difference in a young person’s life, please get in touch to find out more: Call 0800 0720 137 or visit

11th March 2024

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