Cumbria Crack

Campaign encourages ’empty nesters’ to think about fostering

Homestays provider Julie Kirkham

Cumbria County Council is asking parents preparing to wave their children off to university this month or whose children are starting school this week, to think about fostering.

At this time of year, when children are embarking on their first steps towards independence at university or school, the house can seem very quiet and fostering can be a refreshing and challenging continuation from traditional parenthood.

At the moment the council supports around 200 fostering families across Cumbria but with nearly 700 children in care in the county, it urgently needs more foster carers to come forward.

Barrow’s Julie Kirkham, is a Homestays provider for Cumbria County Council, who first enquired about fostering when her children left home.

She said: “I had serious empty nest syndrome after my own children left home four years ago and started to think about fostering.

“I initially thought it would be great to foster younger children but as I was completing the last stages of my Skills to Foster training, I realised I would struggle to keep up with my day job and also be there for younger children. It was then I heard about Homestays, a way of supporting older children and teenagers and getting them used to living independently, and I thought that would fit perfectly with my lifestyle.

“Paige, 17, moved in with me in early April and it took a little time for us to get to know each other but now we get along really well. She is such a thoughtful and respectful girl, with a lovely nature who deserves a better chance in life now.”

For those who have a spare room at home and room in their lives for a child, fostering can be a way to turn an ‘empty nest’ into an opportunity to give a child a fresh start. There are many different types of fostering, from short term and respite fostering, to long term care, so there’s bound to be one that fits with your lifestyle.

For more information contact 0303 333 1216 or attend one of our drop in sessions around the county this month:

September fostering drop in events:

  • Thursday 6 –  Tesco Extra, Barrow, 12.30pm to 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 12 – Café, St Nicholas Centre, Whitehaven, 12pm to 2pm
  • Monday 17 – Bridge Café, opposite Penrith Methodist Church, 12pm to 2pm
  • Wednesday 19 – Workington Costa Coffee, Dunmail Shopping Centre – 11am to 1pm
  • Friday 21 – Barrow Library, Ramsden Square , 11am to 1pm
  • Thursday 27 – Carlisle Costa Coffee, The Lanes Shopping Centre, 12-2pm

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