To celebrate Foster Care Fortnight (May 14-27), Oldham Council’s Fostering Service will be taking over Chadderton Hall parkrun on Saturday 19 May.
Staff from the fostering service, foster carers and their children will be putting on their trainers to highlight the urgent and growing need for more local foster carers.
The event is part of National Fostering Fortnight which is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives.
Oldham foster carers, Wendy and Paul Leech help organise Chadderton Hall parkrun. Wendy said “I grew up in a fostering family, and it was always something I wanted to do. We discussed it and said we would enquire to our local authority. We really wanted to make a difference in children’s lives and we felt we were well equipped to do so.
“The best thing about fostering is watching the children progress so much. They are usually really sad when they are brought into care, so when you witness their first smile and laugh, and you know you have formed a really positive relationship it is so rewarding.
“Just by setting clear rules, boundaries, and giving out lots of praise and positive comments really can make a difference.
“If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, be prepared for lots of challenges. But we can honestly say the rewards outdo the challenges. But be prepared, each child holds a piece of your heart.
“When we became foster carers we said we would have under 10’s short term. But our kids have been with us six years now and are teenagers, we really can’t imagine life without them. A sense of humour is also vital.
“If you are thinking of fostering, why not come along to the parkrun? It’s a great way to find out about fostering and meet carers.”
Councillor Jenny Harrison, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Safeguarding said: “Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity to thank all our foster carers for the fantastic work they do. They really are special people and make such a difference to the lives of children and young people in Oldham.
“Sadly though, we have a seen a dramatic rise in the number of children entering foster care and we need more people to come forward.”
You can apply to foster regardless of marital status, sexuality, race or religion, or whether you are in work or have a disability. All we ask is that you are over 21, enjoy working with children and have room in your home. Carers receive a tailored support package, plus payments and allowances up to £29,000 per year (dependent on skills and experience).
If running isn’t your cup of tea, the team will also be at The Pavilion Café, Chadderton Hall Park, after the run, from 10am until 1pm to give more information on becoming a fosterer.
For more information, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/fostering or call 0161 770 6600.