Could you change a young person’s life forever?
Posted on: Monday 13 May 2019
Today marks the launch of Foster Care Fortnight 2019 (13 – 26 May), an annual campaign to highlight the need for more people to come forward and consider fostering.
The council’s foster care team is organising a range of activities during the two weeks to encourage people to come and chat to them about the many options fostering has to offer, including general foster care, becoming a transitional carer or supported lodgings provider.
We believe that anyone can change a life, and we’d like you to meet three ordinary people, doing extraordinary things to change the lives and the futures of young people in Bridgend County Borough.
Becky Walsh has been fostering with Bridgend Foster Care since 2006, she said: “I was 21 when I started fostering, although I remember, from a very young age, knowing that I wanted to foster.
“Over the years, I’ve looked after many different children, every single child that comes through the door, teaches you something new. You evolve as a person, you learn new skills, and that makes you a stronger person.”
Will has been fostering with Bridgend Foster Care since 2009, following a long career as a school teacher, he said: “After working with young people for many years, it became obvious to me, that perhaps I could make a more significant contribution by becoming a foster carer. And indeed I hope I have. I’ve really enjoyed the process, it’s been very rewarding.”
Will has recently trained to become a transitional carer: “The transitional caring, I think, is going to be a very important aspect of work, because the children coming in, very often, have higher needs than ever before, and the complexity demands a sophistication of response.”
The council is also highlighting the need for supported lodgings providers. Kay has been a supported lodgings provider for a number of years, she said: “I was rattling round in this three-bedroomed house, there was only me living here, but I’d been used to having a family here. It just seemed wrong.
“I was talking to a friend who fosters, I was working full-time so I couldn’t take on fostering, and then she suggested supported lodgings. I’d never heard of it before. I made some calls and the team at Bridgend Foster care were really happy to help.
“I now look after 18 to 21 year olds, for varying lengths of time. It’s when they come out of care or foster care, before they go into independent living, they come here. I help them with budgeting, cleaning, cooking mainly. I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it, it’s really satisfying to know that you’ve just helped somebody along on their journey through life.”
Councillor Phil White, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, said: “It’s fantastic to hear the inspiring stories from some of our excellent foster carers. However, we need more people like Becky, Will and Kay to come forward and consider fostering or supporting young people in our county borough.
“Foster carers come from all walks of life, just like the children who need to be looked after. I would urge anyone who is interested to speak to the Bridgend Foster Care team for some confidential and friendly advice.
“New foster carers receive a whole range of ongoing support from both seasoned foster carers and the widely experienced and qualified Foster Care Team at Bridgend County Borough Council.
Councillor White added: “Bridgend Foster Care is Bridgend County Borough’s biggest family. If you have what it takes, join our family and make a huge difference to the lives of children that need it.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about fostering, you can have a chat with a member of the fostering team and a current foster carer at Maesteg town centre Friday 24 May and Porthcawl town centre on Tuesday 14 May.
You can also call the team on 01656 642674, email email@example.com or fill in an enquiry form at the Bridgend Foster Care website.
Foster Care Fortnight is organised by fostering charity ‘The Fostering Network’. Find out more about the annual campaign by using the hashtag #FCF19 and #changeafuture on social media.
For general enquiries, please contact Bridgend County Borough Council's customer contact centre:
09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Thursday;
09:00 to 16:30 Friday.