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22 May 2018

Campaign launched during Foster Care Fortnight to find 20 more foster carers for Cumbria's Shared Care scheme

During Foster Care Fortnight 2018 Cumbria County Council is trying to raise awareness of the need for up to 20 more Shared Care fosterers across the county, who can offer respite on a regular basis to a family with a disabled child.

The Cumbria Shared Care Scheme links carers with a family who have a child or children with disabilities.  It aims to match them with a child who they can care for on a regular basis for a weekend, a holiday or occasional overnight stays, building up the child’s trust and confidence.

The scheme gives the opportunity for the children to have experiences with a different family and it gives their parents an opportunity to recharge their batteries and spend some time with other children in the family.

Gill Jones from Barrow has been a Shared Carer for the same little boy, James*, who has global learning difficulties, for six years. She said:

“I started thinking about fostering when my daughter first went to university and I went to an open day and that’s where I first heard about Shared Care.

“Because I worked three days a week and also had a busy social life, the Shared Care scheme had the flexibility I needed to fit in with my busy life.

“James started coming to me when he was 10 and he’s 16 now. He is adorable - such a loving, likeable boy. I don’t have him for a set weekend but can be flexible about it and let his family know which weekends I am free. Typically he will arrive on a Saturday morning and stay overnight before going home at tea time on Sunday.

“It is really good fun; we always bake which he loves. We often go to the cinema or for a walk, we might go out for tea and then buy our baking ingredients on the way home and he always brings a DVD for us to watch in the evening and he goes to bed about 9pm.

“I feel as though I have helped by doing something I enjoy, which at the same time has given his family a little time to spend with their other children.”

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: 

“Our Shared Care scheme is a way that people can make a huge difference to the lives of children with a disability in their local communities by dedicating just a weekend each month to fostering.

“If you are interested in fostering but had ruled yourself out because you work full-time, this may be a way you could still get involved.

“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 friendly team and 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 event during Foster Care Fortnight:

Thursday May 24 - Penrith Costa drop in - 12pm to 2pm

Friday May 25 - Millom Guide Hall drop in - 12pm to 2pm

Saturday May 26 - Barrow Tesco Extra information stand - 10am till 12pm

*Name has been changed to protect a child’s identity


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During Foster Care Fortnight 2018 Cumbria County Council is trying to raise awareness of the need for up to 20 more Shared Care fosterers across the county, who can offer respite on a regular basis to a family with a disabled child.