Yorkshire Foster Carers Open Their Hearts On Joys Of The Job

Yorkshire foster carers have opened their hearts about the joys of the job as part of a campaign to bring more Leeds folk on board.

John Hollingsworth and Brenda Gordon have spoken out ahead of Foster Care Fortnight – May 12 to 25 – which aims to recruit more carers for needy kids.

They are just two of 13 on the books of SWIIS Foster Care Leeds which is appealing for more help in caring for youngsters in our area.

Single mum Brenda, 42, has been fostering for two years and has just taken on a 14-year-old pregnant schoolgirl from Leeds.

“There are a lot of mixed race children coming into the foster care and they want to match them up with the right person. For example, they may need someone with black values and culture.

“But Kirklees were finding it difficult to match these children with carers – and they tended to want people who were in relationships. That was 15 years ago. Now I have managed to foster.”

With the help of her 22-year-old son, Brenda from Huddersfield has already looked after one child.

“I am a mum, a friend and a buffer,” says Brenda. “We are here for support. I really enjoy it; if you didn’t, you couldn’t do it.”

And John Hollingsworth, 61, who lives near Wakefield, agrees.

He and wife Annette, 62, have been fostering since 2006 and are about to reunite their foster child with his mum after 18 months.

“I have got five kids of my own but there are a lot out there who through no fault of their own get a bad start in life and with fostering you have got the opportunity to put something back,” John said.

John’s young foster son had come from a troubled background involving domestic violence and drug abuse.

“The plan was to reunite him with his mum. No-one thought it would work but he has done it and we have got a date for him to go back. He is now going back to live with his mum and that is so rewarding as we have done the job we set out to do.”

John is now gearing up to foster more children. “It’s an emotional rollercoaster. You get so many lows with them but you also get the highs. We can do this until we’re 70 so we shall just keep going!”

There is a shortage of over 10,000 foster carers in the UK, prompting Foster Care Fortnight.

Sue Williams is operations manager at SWIIS Foster Care Leeds, one of many foster agencies in the city.

“The office covers across the Yorkshire region and we are actively recruiting all the time,” she said.

“You can be single, a same-sex relationship couple, brother and sister. There’s no age limit so we are looking for people with experience of children.

“The children we have got are absolutely lovely and they have achieved so much. It is about matching and getting the right place, for the right child.”

* For more information contact SWIIS Foster Care Leeds on (0113) 2041085