North Somerset fostering team set up 'home' at Weston shopping centre
By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, January 17, 2013, 11:18
A pop-up shop at the Sovereign Centre in Weston-super-Mare will be home to North Somerset Council fostering team all next week.
The team with its foster carers are inviting the public to come and find out more about fostering over a cup of coffee.
They will be transforming the vacant shop into a lounge and are hoping that people will feel more comfortable asking about fostering in somewhere that feels like home.
The council is desperately short of foster carers, especially for teenagers; foster carers and members of the council's fostering team will be available all week to have informal discussions with people interested in finding out more.
Foster carer of eight years Bez Clarke said: "We'll be trying to make everyone as comfortable as possible by providing hot drinks and biscuits to those who stop by.
"We want to show that we're just everyday people who open our homes to young people who have had difficult starts. You don't need qualifications, a special home or experience with children, just a spare room and the desire to help young people."
North Somerset Council service leader for fostering Jenny Slee said: "This is the perfect opportunity to meet our wonderful carers and to find out more about fostering without any pressure.
"We'll also be holding an information evening at Mendip Green Primary school on Tuesday, January 29, from 6.45pm until approximately 8.30pm for people who are interested in taking the next step after speaking to one of the team.
"We'll be giving a more detailed presentation on what fostering is and how people can make a difference.
"We've always struggled to find foster carers for teenagers and we're hoping that 2013 will be the year this changes."
The 'fostering recruitment shop' will be open from Monday to Sunday, January 21-27 during the opening hours of the shopping centre.
It will be in Unit 9, opposite the café on the seafront side of the centre.
At the moment North Somerset Council has around 90 foster families; the number of children entering care has continued to rise steeply, and there are now more than 250 children looked-after in the district.
Provided people genuinely care about youngsters and have time to spare in their day fostering can provide a welcome additional income for many individuals or families.
For more information contact North Somerset Council's fostering team on 01275 888999 or email email@example.com.