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Kim with her grandson
Kim Shears from Clacton has been fostering for 16 years on her own, and currently has two young girls with cerebral palsy in her care. Kim is keen to advocate that a lack of experience, or not having a large home, should not be barriers to coming forward.

“I had always been reluctant to foster a child with disabilities as I didn’t feel that I had the relevant experience.

Little did I know though, my first experience of fostering would reverse my opinion emphatically.
Nichola, Toni, Aaron and Ellie with their dog
Nicola and Tony Hanscomb from Wickford have been fostering for over a decade and currently have a 15-year-old boy with disabilities in their care.

Toni is the main carer and initially felt apprehensive about looking after a child with disabilities. The couple agree that it’s the best thing they ever did.

Tony says: “I quickly got used to the child and their individual needs. Plus, I have amazing support from Essex County Council. First aid courses, a caring social worker and plenty of support groups have all boosted my confidence and bolstered my experience.
David and wife, Marie
David and Marie had been providing respite foster care for a year but when David was made redundant and the country went into lockdown they decided to increase their involvement.

“Upon reflection, being made redundant has had a positive impact as I’ve been able to afford these children my time and I’m more relaxed than ever."
Cheryl and husband Gary
Foster carer Cheryl had worked in a school for 9 years before deciding to foster, she said: “It really opened my eyes to what some children go through. Not all children have the happy childhood that my own children had. Some came from very chaotic homes and they knew no different.

Seeing this, I was positive that my husband and I could make a real difference to their lives. By giving them a stable, secure and loving home, it would hopefully enable them to see a happy future life ahead”.
Ruth with her children
Ruth Jenkinson provides emergency breaks and respite care to foster children. She says: “This type of fostering fits into my life and has enhanced it greatly. It gives me the flexibility to care for foster children depending on my workload at the time.”
Sam with husband Stuart
Samantha and Stuart Ockelford from Sible Hedingham took in their first ever foster child days before lockdown. “When this little girl arrived on our doorstep the mothering instinct in me leapt into action." Read their story here.
Lynne with daughters
Lynne grew up with a mum who fostered and enjoyed having a large and diverse household. With a demanding job she didn't feel fostering was quite right for her but then she discovered supported lodgings. Read her story
Deborah sitting in the woods
When NHS worker Deborah Mbabazi's two children grew up and moved out to start their own lives she started to reflect on her purpose in life and said "I desperately felt like I had more love to share".

But with a demanding job as a nurse fostering wasn't a suitable option, then she discovered Supported Lodgings...
Nick in his garden
Nick, aged 58 from Braintree, has fostered between 30 and 40 young people over the last 16 years; all of which have been teenagers.

“It’s such a positive thing to be working with these teenagers. They have often had many chances taken away from them already and experienced much disappointment. They often crave some stability and routine. I love showing them that there is a better way and instilling some self-worth in them, so they can have a happier life”.

Pride month

Friday 19 June 2020
Paul
This month is Pride Month and we wanted to celebrate our foster carers from the LGBT+ community for the incredible care they provide to our children.

Our carers come from all walks of life, all genders and all ages because we know that what’s important is that they can offer the care, security and stability that a vulnerable young person needs.

Read Paul and husband Gerry's story of fostering here.