Award-winning author backs fostering campaign

Award-winning children’s author Ann Meek became a foster mum for the first time this year – and says the experience has been ‘brilliant’.

Now she is at the forefront of a County Council campaign to urge other Bucks residents to consider fostering to give loving, secure homes to vulnerable children.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Steeple Claydon, said: “The best thing is knowing you are making a really big difference to a child’s life. They often arrive feeling very confused about what’s happened in their life but we can show them that there are adults who will look after them, fight for them and take steps to help them build their self-esteem and trust in adults again.

“It’s just been brilliant. You have challenging days of course, but when you have a good day, it really makes up for it.”

Ann, a retired primary school teacher with three grown-up daughters, wrote ‘I’m Special, I’m Me’ which was published in 2005 after winning the Little Tiger Press New Author Prize in 2003. It has been printed in ten different languages and tells the tale of a boy who feels different to the other children at school and struggles to make his ideas heard. With help from his positive mum, Milo comes to realise that it is fine to be different and this is what makes him special.

She will be reading the book in public next Wednesday from 10.30am at Buckingham Library as part of the County Council’s campaign during Fostercare Fortnight.

Ann and husband Neil, a company director, decided last year to take the plunge and foster.

“It was something we had been thinking about for two to three years and when our girls got old enough, we had room in our home and room in our hearts for this,” she said. “I hit 50 last year and looked at my life. As much as I loved teaching, I wanted to do something else.”

The couple took their first children in February after going through the fostering approval process and are now looking after their second placement of young siblings.

“I love kids – they keep you young, make life interesting and are great to be around,” she said.

This week, Ann was introduced to Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Buckinghamshire County Council.

Cllr Hazell said: “It’s people such as Ann who make a really big difference to the lives of children who are really in need of help. We hope others will follow her example and start fostering. We have more than 400 looked-after children in Bucks and it disappoints me that this number never seems to shrink whatever we do.”

Ann echoed Cllr Hazell’s appeal and said: “I know this is a particular problem in Buckinghamshire. It’s such a shame and I don’t know why more people in the county don’t foster. I have told all my friends they should do it.

“It’s worth also saying that the support we get from the fostering team is really good. There is always someone you can call if you need advice, help or have a problem.”

* For more information on fostering, contact 0800 160 1900 or visit