Hampshire Carers presented with MBE medals two years after Honours

Two of Hampshire County Council’s foster carers have been presented with their MBE medals, by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, on behalf of HM The Queen, two years after being named in the 2020 New Year’s Honours, due to award ceremonies being postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Feb 24 2022

Bob and Lin Caddy from Andover, who have three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, began fostering for Hampshire in 1997 and were awarded the MBE for their outstanding contribution to children’s services. They have supported over 150 children and young people in the 24 years since they took on this crucial role – providing emergency, respite, short and long-term care – and they keep in touch with many of the young people they have looked after.  

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services said: “I am delighted to hear that Bob and Lin have now received their medals. The New Year’s Honours list recognises the achievements and services of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom, Bob and Lin certainly fit that category and are worthy recipients of this prestigious award. Each month, over 60 children come into the care of the County Council and require the support of foster carers, so we rely on people like Bob and Lin to provide a loving home at the time it’s needed most. I’d urge anyone who is interested in making a difference, like Bob and Lin, to attend one of our virtual information events so we can provide some real insight into fostering and answer any questions.” 

Working as a team, Bob undertakes many of the day-to-day fostering tasks such as supporting the young people in their care with meetings, while Lin provides the practical support to help them develop their life skills and independence within the home. They are great advocates for the young people they care for, place enormous value on education and are known to be creative in their approach to supporting young people with school. 

Bob and Lin’s grandson, Matthew, said: “We are incredibly proud of our grandparents; we have always believed they deserve some form of recognition for all the hard work they do. Over the years many of the young people they’ve fostered have opened up to me, some have been through such tough times and to realise it’s people like my grandparents that support these children makes me feel very proud and humble.” 

Hampshire County Council’s team of foster carers provide love and support for over 700 children and young people throughout the county. But, as the number of children and young people needing support has increased, the number of foster carers who are able to look after them has not. Last year the County Council approved 29 new Fostering Hampshire Children carer households in Hampshire, but more are needed to ensure a high level of care can be maintained for Hampshire’s looked after children.  

Heather was one of the first children Bob and Lin looked after and was so pleased when she heard they’d been awarded their MBEs. 

“My sister and I were their first placements back in 1998. It was meant to be a short-term arrangement, but we ended up staying until we moved out of home! They’ve given not only us but countless others guidance, boundaries, love and support over the many years they’ve been fostering. I don’t think words could ever sum up how much we care about them and are how thankful we are for all that they’ve done for us (and our own parents) over the years. They’re modest about what they’ve given to others and are two of the loveliest people I know; I feel lucky to have walked through their front door all those years ago!” 

The couple understand the importance of communication and have worked hard to rebuild bridges between young people and their families, acting as intermediary when needed. They also attend the local support group and have been buddies to new foster carers, offering the benefit of their experience and providing a listening ear. Additionally, Bob is the Chair of, and works tirelessly for, the Hampshire Fostering Network (HFN) - a small, not-for-profit charity that supports looked-after children and their carers in the Hampshire local authority area.    

Find out more about fostering 

Anyone who would like to find out more about fostering in Hampshire or start their journey to becoming a foster carer, should see the Fostering Hampshire Children website: www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/fostering . Details of forthcoming virtual information sessions can also be found on the website.