19 June 2024

Salisbury is the focus of a local campaign to find more foster carers

Salisbury has become the focus of a new localised campaign to find more foster carers for children in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council’s fostering team will be visiting key sites this June and enlisting the support of businesses, charities, faith leaders and organisations to highlight the need for more foster carers in the area.

The council has a three-year campaign to provide 100 new foster carers by spring 2023. 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. The council recently held a high profile tour of the county during Foster Care Fortnight to encourage more potential carers to come forward.

Spencer Mulholland and his wife Lisa have been foster carers for Wiltshire Council for over a year, but have been fostering overseas students for over 25 years.

Spencer said, “Wiltshire Council provide a lot of training. They need to know if you have the skills to be able to do it because it’s not for everyone. They have a need for people with the capability of looking after teenagers, not exclusively but that’s the area where they most need carers.”

Spencer says that fostering gives him and his family immense satisfaction.

“We still believe that we have a lot to give. We will feel we have more to offer young people and young children, we can offer a loving home, we can offer stability and we can offer endless amounts of empathy which are three of the most important elements really.

“We feel really strongly that we can make a difference in a young person’s life and we’ve seen it over the years we have done it many times and it’s been amazing having that back from them. These people are still adults and they regularly contact us and we follow their lives and progress.

“You change people’s lives, what you do for them is forever because you’re teaching them the skills to get through life and you’re giving them a loving home.”

The council began targeting local areas last summer, starting with Trowbridge, Devizes and more recently Calne. By putting the spotlight on the Salisbury area, the hope is local people who are thinking about fostering will want to find out more.

The council’s Kinship and Fostering team will be available to chat at Salisbury Charter Market, Salisbury Market Place on Tuesday 14th June from 9am to 2pm and on Tuesday 28th June from 9am to 2pm.

They will also be at The Market Place, Guildhall Square Salisbury on Sunday 26th June from 10am – 4pm to answer questions for all stages of enquiry – from people who just want to know more to those that are seriously considering fostering.

There will also be an online information session for those wanting to find out more on 30th June at 7pm via this link. Please be aware you will need to have downloaded the Microsoft Teams App to join the online meeting.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said, “This is the fourth local campaign we have organised in Wiltshire to really focus on encouraging people in that area to consider becoming a foster carer. People can come and chat to our team without any obligation and find out more.

“Even if people are not ready just now, we still want to hear from them so we can provide a clear picture of fostering and how it can make a real difference to a young person’s life.”

Kim and Craig spent some time considering fostering before starting the process to become foster carers. They have three children of their own and as they grew older they felt they had the time and opportunity to give other children.

Talking about fostering teenagers, Craig said, “What I realised is you get a little bit of kickback but that is because really they just don’t want to be hurt again. They’re desperate to be part of the family and actually just welcoming another child into the family or teenager into the family has been a really great experience.

“There are ups and downs, but overall it has been a brilliant experience and we don’t regret it. We’ve found our birth children have really got involved in the whole process as well and it’s just been good for us to just extend our family and welcome others in.

“So what I would say if you’re thinking about fostering I would really encourage you to do it. I wish we’d done it years ago, I think we took a long time trying to decide that and we could have just been doing this for a lot longer and actually the need is really out there, it’s absolutely urgent. We’d encourage you to seriously explore it, it’s incredibly rewarding, at times hugely challenging but totally, totally worth it.”

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 for 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.

For more information click here email fostering@wiltshire.gov.uk, call 0800 169 6321 or text the word Foster to 60002.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty