RESIDENTS are invited to apply to become new foster carers as an awareness campaign was launched.

Foster Care Fortnight has started, the UK’s biggest foster care awareness campaign which aims to spread understanding about the positive difference fostering can make to people’s lives.

Wigan Council are currently recruiting new foster carers and Colette Dutton, director of children and young people’s services, is encouraging local people to step forward and apply.

Colette said: “The pandemic has shown us what a fantastic community spirit there is here in the borough so I do hope more people take some time to consider becoming a foster carer.

“Having more local foster carers will mean that we can look after our own children within the boundaries of Wigan Borough, a huge positive for our children as it usually means they don’t need to move schools amongst other positives of remaining living locally.

“Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity for us to say a big thank you to all of the fantastic foster carers we have in the borough and to let them know how much we value their hard work and care.

“Foster carers really do change children and young people’s lives by offering them stability through safe and loving homes and introducing them to positive new opportunities and experiences.”

Fiona and her husband Shaun have been foster carers for three years.

Fiona said: “I’d fostered before, years ago, it was something I’d always wanted to do.

“When Shaun decided to take voluntary redundancy three years ago, he suggested it to me and we just went for it.

“Seeing the progress the children have made who’ve been with us and seeing the difference that you can make to their lives is so rewarding.” Deb Clayton gave up her job of 19 years as a staff member at a residential home to become a foster carer in October.

She said: “I’d wanted to be a foster carer for 19 years and kept thinking that the time wasn’t quite right but I’m so glad I finally made the decision to do it.

“You get lots of support from your social worker and from Mockingbird, which is a network of other foster families.

“Nothing is a silly question, if you’re struggling with anything, you’ve got somebody there straight away.

“I just love being a Mum. I love being able to take him to school and bring him home and help nurture him to be the best that he can be. It’s the best job in the world.”

To become a foster carer you need to have a spare bedroom, be over 21 and healthy, have some experience of caring for or working with children and have a caring nature and be committed to providing a stable home.

Colette said: “I’m proud of the amazing support we’re able to offer our foster carers and can promise anyone who decides to step forward that you wouldn’t be on your own.

“If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, please get in touch and find out more so that you can decide if it’s for you.”

For more, there will be a combined event for residents of the borough and of Bolton, Bury and Salford on Wednesday, May 19, from midday to 1pm and 7pm to 8pm.

Book tickets for the combined fostering event on Eventbrite here.