A FOSTER carer who has spent seven years looking after children in need has been named as Rochford’s “Citizen of the Year”.

Jo Twyman was given the award following her remarkable work in supporting local children and other foster carers.

She was applauded for her dedication and commitment, which judges agreed had a profound impact on the community, influencing countless lives for the better.

Ms Twyman was presented the accolade at a Rochford Council event attended by Mayor of Southend, Stephen Habermel.

On receiving the award, Jo said: “It was such a surprise to be nominated and win this award.

“I am passionate about helping local children and the families that care for them, so it’s really rewarding for me to be involved in activities that help my community.

“With my family’s support, I realised a lifelong ambition when I became a foster carer over seven years ago now and it’s such a privilege to be part of a child’s life and help them get the childhood they deserve.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about fostering or volunteering in the community to do it it’s the best feeling in the world knowing you are making a difference and helping people.”

A council foster carer for more than seven years, Jo has not only cared for numerous local children but has continually provided support to fellow carers.

The panel recognised Jo’s contributions as pivotal in ensuring cared-for children are well supported academically and have the tools required for a smooth transition into adulthood.

Michael Marks, executive director for children and public health, at Southend Council, said: “I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Jo on her much-deserved Citizen of the Year award and thank her for the invaluable support she provides to the children of Southend and to the fostering community.

“Her community spirit is second to none and I know many families have benefitted from the care, support and guidance she provides.

“We’re always delighted to talk to anyone who is interested in making a difference to a local child’s life, so please do get in touch with us to find out more about fostering.”