We urgently need people who can offer a safe home to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving from the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Somerset County Council has accepted more than 17 unaccompanied children already and more are expected. Most of the children arriving in Somerset are aged 15 or older, travelling from countries including Afghanistan, Albania and Eritrea.
Frances, a Foster Carer from South Somerset has welcomed Alex an unaccompanied young asylum seeker and shared her experience in a short film:
In the film Frances said: “Young asylum seekers have faced so many challenges to get here. Something terrible has happened to them and no child wants to leave the safety of their home – they have no choice.
“We are so lucky to have the young man living with us that we do, he is hard-working, respectful, kind and even takes our grandchildren out to play football. He has a thirst for knowledge and is really enjoying being at school – it’s been a pleasure to help him learn new skills and to be able to facilitate a new life for him here.”
Alex, the young asylum seeker also shared his thoughts on arriving in the UK in the film:
“I didn’t plan to leave my country, but sometimes the situation is worse than you can imagine and you have no choice.
“Frances had such a nice welcome for me, now, I don’t think of her just as a Foster Carer – she is my mum.”
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families urged anyone who can help to come forward, saying:
“We need people to become Foster Carers for vulnerable children in our county. This is both for Somerset children who are experiencing real hardship, and for lone, asylum-seeking children arriving from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“We continue to face a real shortage of Foster Carers for children and need people to come forward to offer them a safe and loving home.
If you have a spare room, time and a willingness to care for a child we would love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0800 587 9900, visit our website http://www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or come to our next information event.”
The next fostering information event takes place on Thursday 9 March 2017 from 7pm to 9pm at Costa Coffee in Bridgwater (TA6 3BU). People will hear more about fostering and have a chance to speak to professional and friendly staff. Everyone who attends will get a free Costa Coffee and a cake. Please reserve a place by calling 0800 587 9900.
Somerset County Council are looking for people from all walks of life to foster – people can be single, married or in a same sex relationship, own or rent their home, have children of their own or not.