Not everyone can say they feel as rewarded  by their job as Rachel Walker does.

Always passionately interested in  the subject of adoption, she’s the  ideal person to  work in fundraising  and marketing for Adoption Matters   North West, a children’s charity that  finds stable and loving  homes for  children living in  care and supports  adoptive parents as they welcome a  new  child into the family.

Rachel’s interest in helping  vulnerable young people started when  she worked for  Cheshire West and  Chester’s  Children and Young  People’s  Team where she was recruited  to help with document management.

“Sometimes I think life puts  you in  the right place at the  right time, and  this was the  start of a new direction  on my  life which saw a focus on  working in social services and for  charities who aim to help the  less advantaged in our society,”  she says,

“From dealing with paperwork, I  eventually started  working in the  Access Team,  taking referrals for  children  and young people who  might  be at risk.

“I helped a great team of social  workers who worked incredibly hard  to ensure that  families were given all  the help  possible to address some  very  challenging situations,” adds   Rachel, who is married to Max  and  mum to Blythe, 14, and  ZuZu, 12.

It stood her in excellent stead  for  the job she does now, and  opened her  eyes to the damage  that can be done  when children  are badly cared for or  left in  care too long.

“Many children have had a  difficult  start to life, suffering  the lasting  effects of abuse,  neglect, domestic  violence and  substance use, and it  has not  been safe for them to remain   with their birth families.

“With 4,000 children across  the UK  still waiting for families, the charity  is constantly  striving to recruit potential  new adopters, increase awareness of the issues around adoption  and of course raise  funds!

“I am so passionate about adoption,  so passionate that I will  talk for ages  on the subject given half the chance. 

“Adoption can radically alter  a  child’s life chances and the  impact on  society in a wider  sense is remarkable,” she explains.

“Although social workers do  try  very hard to keep families  together   there are some times  when this is  simply not safe or  possible.

“I’ve read case histories that  would  bring anyone to tears,  some of the  children placed  have seen more  tragedy in  three or four years than  most  of us do in a lifetime.”

“The best part of my job is  knowing  that for every time I  talk to someone  about adoption, or every pound  donated, a  child’s life can be turned   around, and a parent’s life  too.”

But there have been some demanding experiences along the  way to help  Rachel get to  where she is today,  including  surviving a violent relationship, miscarriage, betrayal and   more.

“If I can help just one person  by  sharing my experiences  with others  that makes my life  worthwhile,”  Rachel said.

And there has also been a different  type of role for Rachel  recently – as  her mum, Cllr Jill  Houlbrook’s lady  Mayoress.

“I’m incredibly proud of my  mum,  and really honoured that  she chose  me.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity to  meet so many wonderful people all  working hard  in our city.

“I believe Chester has so  much to  offer, and we are trying hard to make  a difference  this year with a variety  of creative events.”