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A campaign to find new foster carers is being launched in Barrow-in-Furness as the number of local children in care continues to rise.
The charity Community Foster Care wants anyone who has ever considered fostering to come forward.
Registered Manager Emma Weaver said there are more than 600 children in care in Cumbria in desperate need of a stable home.
“We know there are people in Barrow who have probably thought about fostering for a long time and haven’t acted upon it,” she said.
“We decided to stage a whole series of information sessions during the summer so that people can come and talk about what’s involved.
“We’ll be in places where ordinary people go – not in meeting rooms or offices, but in cafes and supermarkets, because that’s where the best foster carers of the future are going about their daily business.”
The CFC team will be at Costa Coffee in Hindpool Road Retail Park as follows:
Mon 10 Jul - 11am to 1pm
Mon 17 Jul - 11am to 1pm
Wed 26 Jul - 1pm to 4pm
Mon 31 Jul - 11am to 1pm
Mon 7 Aug - 11am to 1pm
Weds 16 Aug - 5pm to 7pm
Mon 21 Aug - 11am to 1pm
They will also be at Morrisons in the Strand on July 26 from 10am to 12:30pm.
“Many people think they can’t foster but the opposite is usually true,” added Emma. “There’s lots of training to get you started and loads of support every step of the way. Please come and chat to us over a coffee and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.”
She pointed out that children are in care through no fault of their own. “All they want is stability and people who will try and understand them,” she added.
Grandmother Susan McAlinden from Barrow-in-Furness took up fostering with Community Foster Care 18 months ago after seeing an advert in the local paper and going to an information session.
With four grown-up children of her own, she says it’s the most rewarding job she has ever done. “Cared-for children want to be in a place where they feel safe, and when you see positive changes in them, you know you’re probably doing something right,” she said.
Foster carers come from all walks of life and can be male or female, single, married or divorced. They must be over 25 and in generally good health.
Community Foster Care is a not-for-profit agency based in Peart Road, Workington and provides foster carers for children all over Cumbria.