Foster carer Margaret Williams uses her hands to proudly reel off the names of the children she has welcomed into her home. But the 60-year-old great grandmother jokes that she “always runs out of fingers” as she has fostered more than 13 children over nearly ten years.
Margaret remembers the names – and the smiles - of every child she has been there for since January 2006.
She is one of about 100 foster carers who are committed to helping South Gloucestershire’s children and young people who have had a difficult start in life.
Margaret is currently caring for a 11-year-old boy and she says fostering was “the best decision she ever made.”
She said: “I love the idea that I’m doing something to help children. I find it very, very rewarding because you get to see the children achieving so many things. There are ups and downs, but when you see that huge smile on a child’s face, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Margaret promised herself that she would help children in need after volunteering in a children’s home as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award aged just 14.
Nearly 50 years later, Margaret – who has a 40-year-old son, 37-year-old daughter, five grandchildren and a great grandchild – is keeping to her word.
She recalls that within two weeks of being approved as a foster carer with South Gloucestershire, she had “a house filled with children’s laughter.”
Margaret of Yate said: “Seeing the children’s home all those years ago was horrendous, it broke my heart, I just wanted to do something to help children in care. Life took over but I never forgot it. Then I saw a poster for fostering in a lift and I knew what I had to do. I could think of nothing else so I just went for it.”
Margaret previously worked as a childminder and in finance for the former Avon County Council then South Gloucestershire Council, as well as volunteering for the Scouts for 25 years.
She said: “Nothing beats fostering, it’s not always easy, but it’s the best job in the world.”