The many rewards and benefits of giving a child a much-needed loving home are being highlighted by Hillingdon Council and its foster carers this Foster Care Fortnight (May 14 – 27).
The council is using the annual awareness campaign to encourage local residents to think about whether they could be the one to make a difference to a child or young person’s life.
As well as having the opportunity transform lives and give back to the community, foster carers with Hillingdon Council get an allowance of up to £419.88 per week. They also get full training and support and the benefits of working as part of a team of outstanding foster carers.
Jayne and Ernie Verity, from Hayes, who foster mostly babies and toddlers for Hillingdon Council, have spoken of their positive experience of fostering over the past 16 years.
Jayne, 49, said: “We give children the best start in life that we can, and it’s so amazing to watch them progress in a short time.
“Fostering is hard work, but if you love kids and can offer a child a home in a loving environment – just try it. Even after 16 years, I’m always telling people to go along to an open evening and find out more.”
Ernie, 48, added: “We did initially really enjoy looking after teenagers, but when we had our younger children we decided that babies would fit in better with our family lifestyle.
“As a carer, you have to be mindful and look out for signs of any problems or issues. But the effort you put in, you will get back and it’s so worth it.”
Hillingdon Council is holding a series of drop-in events throughout May and June to give residents the chance to find out more about fostering and take their first steps towards possibly becoming a foster carer.
One will be held on May 21 from 10am to 12pm at the Coteford Children’s Centre, Fore Street, Eastcote.
The climax of the events programme will be a special recruitment event at Brunel University on Saturday June 16 between 10am and 3pm. Residents are encouraged to go along, meet the team and ask questions. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book.
Councillor David Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, said: “Fostering can be hugely fulfilling, and with a generous allowance and expert support and guidance from our excellent fostering team, there has never been a better time to explore the opportunity.
“We highly recommend that anyone who has ever considered fostering go along to the recruitment fair or one of the other drop-in events to have an informal chat. It could be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.”