HOLLIE Barker had a dream to launch a fostering agency with a difference.

In 2015, Hollie was working for a large fostering organisation and made the decision to open her own independent agency.

“I just decided that I could do this better myself. So I made the decision to do it. It was a lot of hard work and there were lots of legal barriers but with the help of my two business partners we made it happen and here we are alive and kicking and doing really well,” said Hollie.

With ten staff and around 30 foster carers, Safe Base Fostering, based at Manvers, is currently helping 50 children.

Hollie, 32, has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award:

“This young lady has followed her dream. In 2016 at the young age of 24 she decided to open her own Independent Fostering Agency.

“She sought out who she wanted to take on this venture with her and worked tirelessly to find suitable premises to start building her empire.

“She worked so hard completing endless paperwork and hitting any obstacles head on. She definitely does not shy away from adversity or challenges and her motivation and positivity is admirable. The grand opening was May 3 2016 Ofsted approved the adventure began.

“Seven years later and she has a workforce of ten along with many foster carers giving excellent care to looked-after children by giving them a loving and warm home where they feel safe, cared for, supported and encouraged to learn to be the best version of themselves and most importantly thrive.

“Hollie has a passion like no other to do the best for the young people who are unable to live at home with their family working so hard to match them with a suitable foster carer where they can be who they are and promote their identity.

“Hollie is such a determined, passionate, caring and supportive individual who made her dream a reality.”

Hollie was delighted to be nominated but was quick to acknowledge all the support she has had: “I try to recognise everyone else so it is nice for me to be recognised.

“I had a vision and want to continue to recruit in South Yorkshire helping as many local children as I can. I want my team to feel recognised and valued and I couldn’t have done this without them and my two business partners Michelle Monteiro and Alison Wells.”