[N]ew Year is traditionally a time when we think about changing our lives and, in a campaign launched on January 1st, Cumbria County Council is urging people in Carlisle and Eden to think about fostering.
We currently have around 50 carers in the Carlisle and Eden area, offering supportive, safe and happy homes to children who, for whatever reason, can’t live with their birth families.
We urgently need to find 30 more families to foster in the area in 2018. Without more people coming forward some of our area’s most vulnerable children may find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends or even being split up from brothers and sisters.
Lawyers, Rob and Christine Mason, from Penrith, both work full time and have been fostering a brother and sister (aged 9 and 13) since they were approved to foster 18 months ago. Rob said: “We had friends who’d been foster carers for a number of years and they were inspiring. It was wonderful to see the how these children could be changed and shaped by having a secure home. That’s what sowed a seed for us early on.”
Christine said: “I work in Penrith and every day I saw the fostering advert on my parking disc and eventually we decided to give the number a ring. From then on it all moved quite quickly.
“They got us straight onto a training course and then our application went in. We were not left to drift, we were well supported by the assessment worker, who’s a good friend now!”
Fostering more than one child was an easy decision for the couple. Rob said: “We decided early on we’d like to foster siblings and that we could manage at least two. We were shown a profile of the kids and at that point we started to get excited, all of a sudden these were real children we were talking about. They did a great job matching us.”
Now they cannot imagine life without their children. Christine said: “This is their home now and it’s like they’ve always been here. It’s been a life changing experience for us, so if you are thinking about fostering, make a call today – it might just change your life.”
If you have room to spare in your home and a lifestyle that has room for a child, then why not become part of Cumbria’s biggest family? From short-term fostering to offering a permanent home to a child, like Rob and Christine, there are many ways in which you could make a difference to the lives of children in your local area.
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Our foster carers come from all walks of life, just like the children they care for, but one thing they all have in common is a desire to make a difference in their local communities.
“If you have been thinking about fostering for some time, why not make it your New Year’s resolution to contact a member of our friendly team to find out more about the support and training you could receive as a foster carer for Cumbria County Council?
“Taking that first step can be daunting, but as you can see from the Mason’s story, it can also be a wonderfully life-changing experience – for you and the children you take into your home and your heart.”
Last year our foster carers changed lives… in 2018 it could be you. If you think you have what it takes, visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering, call 0303 333 1216 or attend one of our upcoming information events and speak to our team and foster carers:
- Wednesday 7 February – Crown and Mitre Hotel, Carlisle – Tea and coffee from 6pm, presentation starts 6.30pm.
- Saturday 10 February – George Hotel, Penrith – Tea and coffee from 2pm, presentation starts 2.30pm.