Mind the gap – come talk to us about fostering

Come talk to us during Foster Care Fortnight (Monday 13 to Sunday 26 May) and find out how you can ‘mind the gap’ between the high number of Somerset children we have in care and the number of foster carers needed.

Somerset does not have enough foster carers to meet demand. We have over 500 children in care and only 200 foster carers in Somerset. Since a number of existing foster carers are expected to retire soon, Somerset children urgently need foster carers to give them a better start in life. The greatest need being for foster carers for older children and teenagers, sibling groups and disabled children.

To shout this message, the fostering team are embarking on a Fostering Roadshow; parking up at key locations across Somerset where foster carers are needed. Drop in to chat to staff and hear real-life experiences from foster carers.

Foster carers are ordinary people, with all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences. If you are over 21, have a spare room and want to make a difference to children’s lives, then foster.

Fostering changes the lives of vulnerable children and helps them enjoy a better future. Jay aged 13 from Bridgwater, came to his foster carers David and Louise 8 years ago with eating and behavioural issues; now he has been shortlisted for a national writing award. Brandon aged 14 has been with his foster carers in Frome, Dave and Paula, for over 7 years and has progressed well thanks to their dedication. He volunteers in numerous community projects and has been nominated for the Pride of Somerset Awards.

Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services at Somerset County Council, said: “Our foster carers do such a wonderful job and are an invaluable part of the team – but we urgently need more of them to plug the shortfall between the number of children in our care and the number of foster carers we have. Somerset reflects the national picture where an estimated 8,000 new foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone to care for a range of children. As well as the personal rewards from helping young people to turn their lives around, we offer a competitive weekly fee, great support and training, plus extra discounts on everyday expenditure such as shopping and holidays. We also cover mileage and pay a retainer fee to foster carers who are between placements.”

Come talk to us at the following information events taking place across the county in Foster Care Fortnight and beyond. Just turn up and talk to our friendly team to find out more.

Tuesday 14 May: Yeovil – Vicarage Street, Yeovil outside the Methodist church near the Quedam Centre from 11am

Tuesday 14 May: Costa Coffee, Yeovil 7pm, 13 Middle Street, BA20 1LE

Wednesday 15 May: Glastonbury – from 12 noon – 2pm St Dunstan’s Car Park.

Friday 17 May: Somerton – Cox’s Yard Car Park 12 noon – 2pm. We only have 2 foster carers in Somerton so the need in this area is critical – X are needed.

Tues 21 May: 12 – 2pm Cattle Market Car Park, Frome

Tues 21 May: George Hotel, Frome 7pm 

Thurs 23 May: Bridgwater, Fore Street 12 noon – 2pm

Friday 24 May: Taunton High Street, Town centre 12 noon – 2pm

Find all future information event dates, and more information on how to become a foster carer, visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk like/follow us on Facebook and Instagram @fosteringinsomerset and twitter @fostersomerset or call our friendly team on 0800 587 9900.