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Foster carers share their stories to encourage others to join the team

Posted on Monday 15th May 2023
Neil Hamilton May 2023 NR

Resilience foster carer Neil Hamilton

Staffordshire foster carers are sharing their experiences of fostering in a campaign to encourage other families to come forward.

Neil and Pat Hamilton are resilience foster carers with Staffordshire County Council and specialise in fostering children who have previously lived in residential care.

Neil said:

“We’ve been fostering for just over 3 years now and it’s a great thing to do. We’re rewarded every day and it’s the little things which add up and make you know that you are making a difference to that young person.

“The support and training we get is second to none and it’s always been available when we’ve needed it. Fostering is challenging, but worth it and I would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to just go for it, it’s the best thing we have ever done.“

The campaign coincides with Foster Care Fortnight from 15 to 28 May.  It aims to raise awareness of the need for more local people to come forward and help to nurture and support children throughout their childhood.

The countywide campaign includes a series of promotional roadshows throughout the fortnight and a mini-TV advertising campaign. People can watch the Fostering advert here.

Victoria Fitzmaurice also fosters with her husband James, having started their fostering journey during lockdown.

Victoria said:

“We weren’t really sure what to expect when we first started fostering two years ago.  Every day is different, and we feel like fostering has reinvigorated our purpose in life. It’s such an amazingly rewarding experience which has brought all our family together in a hugely positive way.

“There’s also a friendly fostering community here in Staffordshire and you’re never on your own. Other foster carers are always willing to give advice and help each other out. One of our family members is a foster carer too, so they are always there to offer support.  I’d say to anyone thinking about fostering to just go for it by getting in touch with the team.”

In most cases, fostering is the best option to help children reach their full potential.  Staffordshire needs at least another 60 foster families over the next year with a particular need for carers for teenagers and sibling groups.

“It’s brilliant to see our carers take the lead in our latest campaign”

explained Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council.

Mark said:

“We all want to see children and young people get the best possible start in life and that’s exactly what you could do as an approved foster carer for your local council. Continuity is so important for a child - including access to their extended family, friends, and school so it’s vital we have a steady flow of local foster carers. 

“We value our foster carers and provide high quality training and on-going support. We have also recently increased our allowances and fees to help carers with the cost-of-living increases.

“All sorts of people can and do foster with us and you’re never on your own. If you have a spare bedroom and are ready to make a difference then please get in touch or visit one of our campaign roadshows over the next few weeks.”

Fostering roadshows will be taking place between 10am and 2pm at:

  • 15/05/2023    Queens Retail Park, Stafford
  • 16/05/2023    Trentham Gardens Car Park
  • 17/05/2023    Chase Water, Brownhills
  • 18/05/2023    Uttoxeter Dove fields Car Park
  • 19/05/2023    Wolseley Wildlife Centre
  • 22/05/2023    Play Barn - Lower Drayton Farm Penkridge
  • 23/05/2023    Stone Leisure Centre car park
  • 24/05/2023    Shobnall Leisure Centre, Burton
  • 25/05/2023    Hednesford Tesco Car Park
  • 26/05/2023    Newcastle Iron Market

People interested in becoming a foster carer with Staffordshire County Council can find out more at www.fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk or by calling 08001692061. 


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