She admits her husband Stephen wasn’t too sure to start with, but she loves it so much that it’s become a full time role for the former Tesco manager.
Valerie and Stephen first fostered an 18 year old with some serious issues. “He turned into a gentleman,” she says. “He blossomed because we listened to him and treated him like a human being for the first time in his life.”
Valerie’s story of placements lasting up to several years is one familiar to many foster parents.
“We treat all our foster children like part of the family,” she said.
“So although many of them eventually leave us, it’s never ‘goodbye’… we still hear from most of them and some even call round for tea.
“It’s so rewarding… being ‘on the go’ all the time keeps me young. If I had my time again, I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Thanking her for her efforts, and giving the cause of fostering a boost by signing the Big Fostering Book, was Paul Rowley, ex player and current coach for Leigh Centurions.
Family man Paul said: “I have the utmost respect for the carers who open their homes to children and young people who need a safe and secure environment.”
Chris Williams, Chair of the North West Fostering Forum, was one of the organisers of a recent awareness week which resulted in several thousand enquires.
He said: “We’re giving more people the opportunity to come forward and find out about how they can make a difference to a child’s life.
If you are interested in fostering call 01942 487203 or go to: Wigan Council - Fostering