Carer of the Year nominees – Helen and Michael Tryner
Helen and Michael Tryner aren’t just carers, they’re carers whose role it is to look after foster carers, foster children and the birth children of foster carers.
The Stoke-on-Trent couple are part of the national Mockingbird Hub programme set up by The Fostering Network. The first hub of its kind in the city, Helen and Michael sit at the centre of a group of up to 10 fostering families.
Their role is to provide emotional and practical support for carers and children. That can include anything from sleepovers and organising regular get togethers to stepping in to help in emergency situations.
Helen, 34, and Michael, 33, have two birth children aged 18 months and nine years but can often find themselves called on to help with foster children at very short notice.
They’ve been nominated as Carers of the Year in the Your Heroes Awards by Charlotte Rowe from Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Charlotte said: “Helen and Michael go above and beyond for the foster carers and children involved in the Mockingbird. Nothing is too much trouble.
“Examples of this include caring for a carer’s two babies and a teenager at 11pm unexpectantly to support two separate carers in an emergency.
“On another occasion Michael went with his own child to a foster carer whose car had broken down and cared for the child whilst the car was being sorted.
“Helen and Michael have supported carers through transitions, moving children on and through placement disruptions. The carers involved have all verbalised their gratitude towards the support they get from them.”
Helen said: “To be nominated for a Your Heroes Award is a bit unexpected. It’s lovely to know we’re helping people enough to be nominated for an award but to us we’re just doing our job.
“What we provide is like an extended family and an extra level of support.”