MIKE Foster has won the Pride of Gwent Lifetime Achievement Award.

The proud Newportonian accepted the award at a glitzy winners’ ceremony at Rodney Parade last Thursday, December 7.

Sponsored by Newport City Council, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to communities and services in Gwent.

Mr Foster has spent his life in the city but won the award for what he admits has been the "most influential part" of his life in which he has fostered more than 50 young people, including asylum seekers, since 2009.

He was handed the Lifetime Achievement Award by Newport City Council leader Cllr Jane Mudd at the ceremony sponsored by ND Care & Support.

South Wales Argus: Pride of Gwent Awards 2023

Mr Foster says he had a “chance to think” about what he wanted to do with his life after suffering a serious fall that nearly resulted in the amputation of his leg.

“My own children had grown up and left home. I was living alone and reflected that I was happiest around young people. I felt I could nurture them and guide them,” he said.

“I approached the council and started the process to become a foster carer.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Around 2015, Mr Foster started to foster asylum seekers from overseas.

“I never knew people like these children existed, with some of the things they tell me about in their lives,” he said.

“We worry about the price of gas and electric. They worry if they are going to get water or electricity.”

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The proud grandfather enjoyed a three-course lunch with family members before being invited on stage to talk with guest host Angela Jay.

He spoke about the delicate balance involved in helping to raise young people, some of whom have never enjoyed the presence of a positive role model before.

“Each child is so very different, but they all have the same basic needs: stability, compassion, respect, and love,” Mike said.

“This a little bit surreal! I never thought about awards before. People who do these things don’t do them for awards.”

Last year, 110 young refugees came to Wales seeking shelter. Local authority foster carers around the country came forward to provide vital support.

But, with the need expected to grow this year, Foster Wales – representing Wales’ 22 local authorities - are issuing an urgent call for Welsh communities to come forward to help these young people in need.

If you want to know more about supporting young refugees, get in touch with your local Foster Wales team or visit fosterwales.gov.wales