Barbara’s close friend who was a foster carer for Wigan Council first suggested the idea of fostering to the couple.
After attending an informal information evening organised by the council, the couple decided to go ahead and in due course were approved to take emergency placements, as well as 11-16 year olds on a long term basis.
“We’d always enjoyed having children around the place. As I’ve retired, we felt we could dedicate our time to supporting a foster child. We’re very family orientated and with a loving home to offer, it was a natural decision for us. The supervising social worker and placement support provided us with plenty of help and advice. We also developed good relationships with the young peoples’ individual social workers. Having an extended family of our own come to visit played a big part in establishing a steady and supportive home environment for the youngsters."
"It feels like a real achievement when you build a positive trusting relationship with a young person who found it hard to trust adults previously. Really, all they need is support and encouragement to make positive choices in life and achieve their full potential. When you look after a young person on a daily basis, it’s unavoidable that you begin to care for them deeply. That’s why it can be upsetting when they move on - but at the same time, hugely rewarding too. After all, our efforts have helped them become responsible adults who can make their own way in life."
"We still get visits and phone calls from people who we’ve cared for in the past. It’s wonderful to be remembered for the part we played in their lives - in fact, nothing gives greater job satisfaction."
"If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, our advice would be to obtain as much information as possible. Speak to other foster carers and ask them to share their experiences, both good and bad. It’s important to be realistic and remember that fostering can be challenging as it is rewarding. Discuss it with your own family too - they can provide invaluable support. In fact, our family has gone one better - our three children and their spouses have all become foster carers too. That’s a recommendation in itself!”