By Peter Makossah
Maybe you can’t change the whole world, but you can definitely change the whole world of a child by becoming that child’s foster parent and guide that child through life.
However, deciding to become a foster parent not only helps children and teenagers in need of a loving and stable home, but it also improves families and communities in many ways and can make your life richer as well.
There is a great need for foster parents in Nottingham and for sometime, the City Council has been urging people from all backgrounds to take up the noble responsibility of becoming foster parents.
It is heart-warming that many people in the city have opened up their homes to many a child who need a safer home in response to the Nottingham City Council’s plea.
It is against this background that Nottingham City’s foster carers were invited to a ‘thank you afternoon reception’ at the Council House this week to receive a big ‘thank you’ from councillors and senior council officers for their act of benevolence and for the human spirit.
It was an opportunity for councillors and officers to talk directly to foster carers and also show their appreciation for the service carers give to the city’s children.
Nottingham City Council has over 200 foster carers and is currently working to expand that number and to encourage foster carers to come forward from all the city’s communities.
A foster parent, James Maddison, 53, of Inham Road in Chilwell, said: “There’s no better gift you can give to a child or teenager than a loving family and a stable home.
“I am happy, I took on board a child who need a home and he has now become a part of me. Our bond is strong and it feels great to know that I am playing a key role in someone’s life.”
Mercy Tambudzai Chimurenga, a naturised British citizen, who is originally from Zimbabwe but lives on Radford Road said: “Every child needs and deserves to grow up safe and protected from abuse and neglect, and caring foster parents offer children support and stability when they need it most.
“For that to happen, we all have to take a responsibility. Being a parent does not begin and end at being biologically connected to a child because the art of parenting is a responsibility and not a biological windfall.”
For more information about fostering kids with the Nottingham City Council, everything on how to go about it can be found at www.fosternottingham.com
City Council Leader Councillor David Mellen opened the reception by saying how immensely grateful and inspired he was by the dedication foster carers give to helping the city’s children.
He said: “Because you are willing to open your homes, open your lives and open your hearts, there are many children whose life chances are vastly improved, because of the love and the care that you give.
“Thank you for your work and thank you for the trust you have in Nottingham City Council in choosing to be foster carers with us.”
City poet, Ravelle-Sade Fairman then performed her specially commissioned poem for the reception, entitled ‘Thank you foster carers.’
Councillor Cheryl Barnard, portfolio holder for Children, Young People and Schools, has only recently stepped back from being an active foster carer and she added her thanks from the perspective of her own experiences.
She said: “You take our children and young people, some of whom are very damaged when they come to you. You take the time to know the children. Children arrive, they are anxious, bewildered, angry and sometimes all three. And you take them in, you have to cope.
“You should never underestimate yourselves, you’ve got so many skills and you offer so much for our children. You’re nurses, you’re psychologists, you’re therapists, you care for our children in a very special way. You allow them space to develop into well-rounded people.
“I am pleased we are improving our offer to foster carers, it’ll be fantastic to provide more support and it is something we have wanted to do for a long time.
“We are trying to get a more diverse group of foster carers as well. One of our councillors is going to mosques and temples to attract different types of foster carers so we have appropriate placements for our children.
“I’d just like to thank you for everything you do for our children, you’re that stability to those children’s lives, stability that those children have not had in their lives before.”
Corporate Director for People, Catherine Underwood said: “We have dedicated and loving carers who can attest to how rewarding fostering can be.
“I’d like to encourage people from the city and beyond to consider if they could be a foster carer for the city’s children.”
Our team can be contacted through the website, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0115 876 3335”
“We are trying to get a more diverse group of foster carers as well. One of our councillors is going to mosques and temples to attract different types of foster carers so we have appropriate placements for our children.”Councillor Cheryl Barnard
Portfolio holder for Children, Young People and Schools