A former Fenland chef who swapped the heat of the kitchen for life as a foster carer has urged more people to take on the roie as she backs a campaign to recruit more people into fostering.
Sharon Kennelly, 43, from Murrow, made the plea for more people to meet a shortfall of 650 carers in the East of England during Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from May 12-25.
Sharon became a foster carer with the UK’s leading independent fostering agency Foster Care Associates (FCA) in November last year and has already seen her life transformed for the better.
She said: “It is the first time I have fostered and it has been quite good fun really. My husband, David, and I had chosen not to have our own children but still felt we could offer something to young people in need so decided to go into fostering.
“I have really thrown myself into it. I absorb a lot of stuff and get on with people very quickly so I decided to become a carer representative for my region which I am really enjoying.
“FCA has offered fantastic support and training – I really can’t fault them. I’m so glad I chose to go with them.”
One of the aims of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, organised by charity the Fostering Network, is to dispel myths about who can foster and show that people from a wide variety of backgrounds can bring many different skills and qualities to the role.
Sharon added: “There are so many different children with so many diverse needs so anyone who has the strength and willingness to help these children and improve themselves, can take on the role.
“The skills you need vary from child to child but I think carers always need to have compassion, understanding and patience but it is really down to the foster carers’ own character and experience.
“I would recommend fostering to people thinking about doing something rewarding with their career, even though it is not for the faint-hearted and it is not easy. But already I have seen just how fulfilling it is to see the changes in a young person.”
If you think you have the patience, commitment and enthusiasm to foster a child or young person, have a spare bedroom and a willingness to learn, contact FCA on 0800 023 4561 or visit www.thefca.co.uk.
Alternatively like FCA on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/thefcaeastern
FCA welcomes applications from single people, married and co-habiting couples as well as same sex couples.