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20 September 2017

Council's South Lakes fostering campaign launches today

Right now in Kendal and the South Lakes there is an urgent need for more foster carers to provide supportive, safe and happy homes for children who can no longer live with their birth families and have come into the care of the Local Authority.

A campaign launches today across the South Lakes to find more new foster carers, backed by county council foster carer Andrew Galvin, the campaign sets out to invite local people to join Cumbria’s biggest family and do something incredible for children in need in their area.

Cumbria County Council’s latest campaign aims to shine a spotlight on the many different types of fostering available. From short-term or Shared Care fostering to offering a permanent home to a child, there are many ways in which foster carers can make a difference to the lives of children in their local area.

Andrew Galvin and his wife Maria are Shared Care Cumbria County Council foster carers from Kendal, who provide care one weekend a month for a teenager who is autistic and has learning difficulties. Andrew said:

“When we first enquired about fostering the council talked us through the options and, as we both work full-time, Shared Care fostering seemed to work best for us.

“We have been offering Shared Care for the same child for six years now, since he was 10, and watching him grow up and progress is really, really rewarding - we have grown to love him like a member of our own family.

“It is personally so rewarding for us and knowing it benefits his parents too is also really gratifying. They get a weekend to themselves that otherwise they wouldn’t get and they have the opportunity to spend time with their other child, who is not autistic.

“You don’t have to be an expert in caring for children with a disability to be a Shared Care fosterer, as the council offer very good training and support. Really you just need to be caring, empathetic and keen to share a bit of your life with a young person.”

Each type of fostering comes with different challenges and rewards and the council and existing foster carers will help prospective foster carers to explore the type most suited to them and their family.

People who are interested can be assured they will be fully supported through the training, assessment and approval stages. Once approved foster carers then receive on-going support and training from social work professionals and other foster carers.

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:  “We’re looking for people who have the room in their home and the drive to make a difference for children.

“People can be quick to rule themselves out of fostering, we understand there are a lot of myths around, but if you have a spare room there’s potentially a scheme for you.

“Experience of working with children or young people can be beneficial but not always necessary, as full training and support will be provided. The best way to find out more is to come to one of our events and meet our foster carers.”

If you think you have what it takes, or you know someone who could make the difference, then why not become part of Cumbria's biggest family? For more information visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering, call 0303 333 1216 or attend an information event.

Our next information event takes place at the Crooklands Hotel, Kendal on Saturday 30th September. The event begins at 10.30am with a short presentation from the council's fostering experts and local foster carers.

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Right now in Kendal and the South Lakes there is an urgent need for more foster carers to provide supportive, safe and happy homes for children who can no longer live with their birth families and have come into the care of the Local Authority.