This Foster Care Fortnight join us for a special fostering event in Winchester

May 13 2024

Foster Care fortnight

Hampshire residents interested in fostering are being invited to come along to an informal in-person drop-in event at The Arc in Winchester on Saturday, 25 May from 2pm to 4pm. Here they will have an opportunity to meet with the friendly team from Hampshire County Council’s Fostering Service and learn more about fostering and the extensive training and support available.

The event forms part of the County Council’s celebrations for Foster Care Fortnight (13-26 May), an annual campaign run by The Fostering Network to raise the profile of fostering and how it transforms lives. This year’s campaign focuses on fostering moments, both big and small, which have defined individual fostering journeys, built confidence, and made children and young people feel safe and loved.

In support of this theme, foster carers and children across Hampshire are sharing some of their fondest memories throughout the Fortnight.

Councillor Edward Heron, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “It is incredible to hear from our foster carers, including their own birth children, as well as the children in their care, as they speak about the profound impacts that different fostering moments have had on their lives – from the ordinary to the life-changing.

“With many children in Hampshire still waiting for a loving and stable home, I hope these stories will inspire local people to consider fostering a vulnerable child. I would urge anyone interested in fostering to visit our team at the upcoming event on 25 May or if they are unable to attend, to get in touch with our fostering service for an informal chat using the contact details on our website.”

Foster care stories

Katie* is among the local foster carers sharing their stories during Foster Care Fortnight this year. She recalls her memories of supporting a foster child with her homework and exam preparation. She says: “As her GCSEs were approaching, I helped her research her subjects and with her revision. In two short school years she went from 22 per cent attendance to 100 per cent and she passed all her exams.

“She is now a qualified veterinary nurse practitioner. She got married last October and I walked her down the aisle.”

Emily* describes the everyday joy that comes from sitting down to a meal together at the end of the day. She says: “One of the greatest family times is when everyone is gathered around the dinner table. Recently I found myself with five teenage girls at my dining table, all of them children in care and all with very different backgrounds and experiences. None of them knew each other and yet they all talked and shared stories about their days. The room was filled with laughter and there wasn’t a phone in sight! I watched them and was filled with a tremendous sense of pride that in that moment, a simple meal had made a real difference to each of them.”

Lucy* reminisces about teaching her foster children an important skill for life: “Our very first foster placement, over 10 years ago, was two little brothers aged two and three. While in our care, we took them on holiday during which I taught them both to swim, so I knew they’d be safe around water. Eight years later, they have been ranked number 1 and 2 swimmers for the county they now live in and have won many medals for their achievements. Who knew such a tiny seed planted, would grow into such a love of swimming for them both.”

Foster children have also shared some of their favourite moments. One child says: “My foster carer taught me how to talk; she would send me messages on my iPad and I would whisper voice notes back to her.” Another child, whose parent is a foster carer, adds: “Christmas time is really fun, sometimes we have 50 people all celebrating with us.”

Anyone aged over 21 and from all walks of life can become a foster carer. The only requirement is a spare room – and of course, plenty of patience, resilience, open-mindedness and positivity. There are many different types of arrangements available, from full-time fostering to more flexible options that fit around home and work-life commitments.

Visit the Hampshire County Council Fostering Service website to find out more about fosteringupcoming events, and for more information about the training and support available for foster carers.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.