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Celebrating our long-standing foster carers across Belfast

4th May 2023

Lisa Duffy and Eimear Hanna (HSCNI Foster Care)

It was a day for celebration as we recognised the dedication of long-serving foster carers from the Belfast area in a recent event at the Balmoral Hotel. Over 80 carers from across Belfast were invited to the exclusive lunch where they received certificates in recognition of their contribution towards transforming the lives of children and young people.

Speaking at the event, Lorraine Toner, Principal Social Worker, paid tribute to the foster carers.

“We are delighted to be able to show our appreciation and thank our long-standing foster carers who have given over 20 years’ service in supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our communities.

“It’s great they can take time out of their busy lives today and be recognised for a role where they have shown love, care and commitment to so many children and young people.

“These carers and their families have opened their homes and their lives to fostering. We are indebted to them for their resilience, flexibility and staying power over the years.”

Attending the event was foster carer, Margaret Leckey. Margaret and her husband John had been fostering for over 20 years before retiring in December 2022. She said:

“I think it’s absolutely lovely to be recognised for what I have done, and all the rest of these ladies and gentlemen have done the same.

“it’s just nice to have been able to do something for someone who really needed it.”

Margaret also spoke about how rewarding her family found fostering. She continued:

“It’s a very rewarding thing to do. I’m really pleased that John and I did it. We came in a bit late – my only thing was that we didn’t start soon enough. We should have fostered when we were younger.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever done. I don’t regret one bit of it, I enjoyed it. We’re now retired and we miss it sorely.”


Across Northern Ireland, there are many children who need a loving home. This can be short-term, an emergency placement, a longer-term arrangement, or supported lodgings for young people aged 16-21 transitioning towards independent living.

We welcome enquiries and applications from all backgrounds, regardless of marital or employment status, whether you own your home or rent, or are already a parent.

Could you foster?

Call us on 0800 0720 137 or email to find out more.