New campaign to find foster families for 17 young people in the Calne area
Wiltshire Council began targeting local areas where this is a high need for foster carers last summer
A new campaign is being launched this March to find foster homes for 17 children and young people who live in the Calne area.
Businesses, charities, faith leaders and organisations will be sharing the message asking local people to consider becoming a foster carer.
Wiltshire Council began targeting local areas where this is a high need for foster carers last summer, starting with Trowbridge and then Devizes. By putting the spotlight on the Calne area, the hope is local people who are thinking about fostering will want to find out more.
The Kinship and Fostering team from Wiltshire Council will be available to chat at the Calne Market in Phelps Parade on Friday 11 March and Friday 25 March from 9am to 2pm. They will also be in Calne Library at The Strand on Monday 14 March from 10am to 7pm for people at all stages of enquiry - those wanting just to know more and those seriously considering fostering.
There will also be an online information session for those wanting to find out more on Wednesday 30 March at 7pm via - Fostering info session - Microsoft Teams: various events bit.ly/3ISra7l
The council wants to recruit 100 additional foster carers by spring 2023. So far 58 additional fostering families have joined the council since the campaign began in May 2020 and the quest continues to find more. Fostering with your local council means all money is spent on frontline services and the child is more likely to be able to stay close to their school, friends and family networks.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "We have 17 children and young people in the Calne area who want a warm, welcoming foster home in the area where they can stay close to local ties, including schools and friends.
"We know Calne is a wonderful place with a strong community. There will be people thinking about fostering who may have a number of questions and may just want to know more before they take the next step.
"We will be at Calne Market and the library and hosting an online information session during March. Please come and talk to us and find out more and we can take it from there. You can contact us at any time through our normal contact details as well. In return we provide you with the support and training you need and the right payments so you can make this your vocation.
"Even if people are not ready just now, we still want to hear from you so we can give you a clear picture of fostering and how it can make a real difference to a young person's life."
Nikki and Richard fostered for 15 years, had a break and are now fostering again with Wiltshire Council.
Nikki said: "Fostering has changed our lives. Fifteen years ago we started fostering with Wiltshire Council providing a safe and secure home for a young lady from aged seven to 21 years until she left home and got engaged. We feel we've gained a daughter and a much loved member of our family and she continues to be in our lives. We've started again in the last year during COVID as we felt we could now provide a home for another child and to help them feel secure in a home and family setting.
"Anyone who is considering fostering I would say, look into it and make the first step of making the enquiries and the things you need to know and go ahead and apply and see what it can bring to your family. Make the first step and don't be too overwhelmed with all the information you get at the beginning as you do get huge support along the way."
Foster carers need to be over 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom, time to care for a child and a willingness to care and seek to understand young people who have experienced trauma and loss.
People who foster with Wiltshire Council are given training and continued support. Payments reflect the commitment carers are making to the role. There are different fostering schemes available ranging from £350 to £650 a week, depending on people's skills and experience.