Doncaster nurse wins prestigious national award

Holly MacFarland
Holly MacFarland

A nurse from Doncaster Hospital has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award at The Fostering Network’s annual Fostering Excellence Awards.

Holly Macfarland became the main carer for her two younger siblings at an early age after significant relationship breakdowns and ill health in her immediate family. She did shopping, household chores and got her siblings ready for school.

This role came to an end in October 2012 as all three children came into foster care.

Once living with her foster family Holly was able to focus on her academic studies, and despite the hour-long journey to school, she achieved A-C grades in her GCSEs. Within a week of her exams, Holly got a weekend job at a motorway service station with unsociable hours in order to save for a car.

Holly worked while studying for A levels and also undertook two months of voluntary work at a care home. Around her 18thbirthday, Holly experienced two significant bereavements, however, she managed to gain two Bs and a C in her A levels, and went on to study a nursing degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Holly managed to buy her car which helps with work, but also allows her to visit her mum regularly, who is a 45-minute drive away. This is particularly important to Holly who wants to support her mum bringing up Holly’s two siblings.

Holly’s former foster carer, Brian Parker, who nominated Holly for the award, said: ‘Holly has seen at first hand the care system at work.  It is so uplifting that she wants to reciprocate that care by helping others in need. She has enriched our lives and is about to do the same for many people as a qualified nurse.’

Holly said: ‘I feel as though being in foster care has allowed me so many more opportunities. I've been able to meet new people and become who I am today from my time in care and I genuinely wouldn't change a thing.’

‘I feel that helping to care for my dad when he was at home encouraged me to want to help more people. Nursing is very rewarding and I feel as though I fit right in. Although not everybody can be “treated” as such, it is reassuring that I can help in other ways and this is one of the many things that makes my job worthwhile.

‘I have always wanted to become a nurse, but this may not have been the outcome if I wasn't placed with Brian and Lindsay.’

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘The Fostering Excellence Awards give us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the fantastic achievements of fostered children and young people as well as those who care for, and support them. Holly has shown immense resilience and determination to achieve her goal and is well deserving of her award.’

Holly’s award is one of 21 presented at the ceremony on 24 October at Draper’s Hall in London. Find out more about the Fostering Excellence Awards and see the full list of winners and their stories at thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/awards

Find out more about the awards, and the work of The Fostering Network, on our website: www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk