Whereas people in the South East of England are bemoaning a shortage of water, here in the North West it’s the scarcity of an entirely different commodity which has become the driving force behind a high-profile regional campaign: foster carers.
In partnership with 23 local authorities across the region, Wigan Council is giving its support to Foster Care Fortnight, part of You Can Foster, an annual recruitment campaign now in its second year which aims to raise awareness around the urgent and growing need to recruit more foster carers.
The 2-week event, which launches today [Monday 14th May 2012] will be supported by an extensive advertising programme, featuring advertisements on ITV and regional radio. The campaign features real carers from across the North West in order to reflect the diversity of fostering opportunities, including people who rent their homes, single people and same-sex couples.
Reaching 35 million people in 2011 alone, Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s largest fostering recruitment campaign. This year, the theme is ‘time to care’, highlighting both the need for prospective carers to make time in their lives to nurture a child, and the ‘now is the time’ to do it message.
In 2012, fostering services across the UK need to recruit 8,750 new foster families to offer children and young people in care the safe and stable homes they need.
Cllr Susan Loudon, Wigan Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for children and young people, says:
"Wigan Council is delighted to be part of Foster Care Fortnight, the UK's largest fostering campaign aimed at recruiting dedicated people and families to look after some of the most vulnerable children across the North West.
"I urge anybody who has ever thought about becoming a foster carer to come forward and find out what's involved. Sadly, potential foster carers can sometimes be put off, not through lack of interest or compassion but because of preconceptions and misleading assumptions.
"So this campaign aims to dispel myths around fostering and to encourage anybody with room in their hearts, and their homes, to consider making a real difference to the lives of children and young people in need."
For more information on fostering, view the Foster Care Fortnight page on Wigan's website.
For application packs go to the You Can Foster website (external link) or telephone 0800 634 7052.