Celebrating the Joy of ‘Fostering Firsts’

Baking together, going to the seaside or enjoying a pantomime are all some of the first special memories foster carers are sharing during Foster Care Fortnight.

Starting next week, Foster Care Fortnight (Monday 8 to Sunday 21 May) highlights more foster carers are needed throughout Somerset to help make a difference to the lives of the 500 children in care in the County.

Dave and Paula, Somerset based foster carers for 15 years, said: “Children arrive from traumatised backgrounds and you take them to places for the first time whether it’s the beach or a birthday party. When we took foster children to the beach for the first time they just froze, they’d never seen sand before. After about ten minutes they absolutely loved it and by the end of the day we couldn’t get them out of the sea! We’ve now bought them a wetsuit and a body board so they can be like their friends at school and enjoy the sea.”

As part of Foster Care Fortnight, Somerset County Council is holding a themed event in the heart of Taunton to celebrate ‘Fostering Firsts’. These are the special moments that foster carers get to share with children in their care, when they get to experience important milestones for the first time. ‘Baking together’, ‘going to the seaside’ or ‘going to a pantomime’ are all things some children never experience until they are looked after by a foster carer.

The ‘Fostering Firsts’ themed event, taking place on Thursday 11 May outside the Taunton Tourist Information Office, will share some of these precious moments experienced by Somerset Children and their foster carers.

It aims to raise awareness of the number of foster carers needed urgently to offer homes to around 500 children in care and to tell the stories of how fostering has made a real difference to children’s lives.

Stories like those of James and Simon. James and Simon are 9 and 13 and have been looked after by their long term foster carers for 4 years.

They explained what having a great foster home means to them: “Our life was all over the place, but our foster carers took us in and gave us love, care and support which made us feel safe. We’re now much more settled, life is good and we’re looking forward to the future. We can’t thank them enough.”

Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services at Somerset County Council said: “Foster Care Fortnight (8 to 21 May) is a time when people from all backgrounds in Somerset can come together to make a real difference to children’s lives. Whether you’re considering becoming a foster carer yourself or you’d like to assist in promoting the importance of fostering, we greatly value your input.

“If you can provide a safe and loving home for a child or young person we would love to hear from you. There are many information events taking place across the county during Foster Care Fortnight, where you can talk to our friendly team to find out more.”

Wednesday 10 May at Costa Coffee in Taunton (TA1 1JW) from 7 to 9pm.

Tuesday 16 May  @ 7pm in the Wessex Hotel at Street, BA16 OEF

Friday 19 May @ Tesco, Glastonbury from 10am to 3pm

Saturday 20th May @ Tesco, Shepton Mallet from 10am to 3pm

Find all future information event dates here: www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk/events

You can also find out more about fostering, by calling 0800 587 9900 or by ‘liking’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page and following @fostersomerset on Twitter.