Maria Catterick has been fostering with us for 9 years and has looked after 26 of Team's children and young people. We are very pleased that her dedication and selfless support to help improve the lives of young people in care, has now been recognised by this fantastic award.
Maria's work with young people helped her gain first hand insight into the impacts of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) which led to the launch of the FASD Network, a support group made up of a cooperative of families affected by this disability all are advocating for awareness and change.
With about 70% of children with FASD going through the foster care and adoption systems, Maria, ambassador for the cause, has helped educate groups of teachers, social workers and other professionals about the needs of children and adults with FASD, focusing her time supporting families and caregivers as well as speaking at conferences around the country and abroad.
“I am truly humbled by this award. I see lots of people in my town doing extraordinary things, often in a voluntary capacity. said Maria
"Joined together we can meet most needs from housing, food, family support etc. The essence of the Big Society is that whatever little we have or however ordinary we are, we can make a difference. We don’t have to have loads of power and money but what we do doesn’t have to be massive. All we have to do is just share a little of what we have to respond to a need that we encounter in our everyday life and before we know it change happens. I do what I can because I can… because we all can.”
Commenting on the award Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Maria is an amazing woman. She has shown tremendous generosity of spirit and dedication to all of those children that she has looked after.
“She has also had a wider impact on the community, raising awareness of FASD, a serious condition which unfortunately is becoming increasingly common.
“Maria embodies the spirit of the big society in showing how one person’s altruism can have a much wider positive impact on the whole Stockton area”.