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Issue:- 09/10 December 2009

Seasonal Plea For More To Consider Becoming Foster Carers

IN the run up to Christmas, there is usually a sharp decline in the number of people applying to become foster carers, as attention focuses on present buying, party planning and other provisions for the festive holiday. Yet the same Christmas period coincides with an upturn in demand for foster parents, when a rise in family breakdowns creates a need for more children to be taken into care.

This seasonal crisis is made worse by an estimated shortage of at least 10,000 foster carers in the UK. What’s more, a recent report suggests that the overall shortage of foster carers is going to get worse as ageing carers choose to retire, unless the recruitment programme is stepped up sharply.  So concerned foster agency, Perpetual Fostering, is making a seasonal plea for people to remember the nation’s tens of thousands of looked-after children and consider becoming a foster carer.

Accounting for around 75% of all placements, fostering is about caring for children, many of whom have been through traumatic experiences, in your own home and providing a stable, secure and loving family environment. According to the latest government statistics, over 51,000 children and young people live with 43,000 foster families nationwide, whilst a Fostering Network study* estimates that the average age of UK foster carers is 53 years old. With a large proportion of these carers expected to cease fostering over the next 10 to 15 years, it is crucial that more people of all ages come forward to foster, especially as the age for looked-after young people leaving care has now been raised from 16 to 18.

According to the same study, many suitable candidates are not applying because they do not appreciate that a wide range of people can foster, such as the fact that one in five carers is single, and do not understand the financial remuneration available for fostering. It is also felt that many count themselves out, by basing decisions on inaccurate information and do not take the opportunity to find out more.

Perpetual says you can become a foster carer whatever your age, whatever your marital status, your religion and whether or not you own your own home, providing you have a stable tenancy and can offer a spare room. People with a police record for violence or offences against children are understandably disqualified, although minor criminal convictions need not be a barrier. Perpetual pays a generous tax-free weekly allowance to cover the daily cost of looking after a child, so you needn’t worry about having enough money to be a foster carer.

“It can be a very rewarding career and, once people have taken the plunge, many of our foster carers continue for many years and derive great satisfaction from making a difference to young people’s lives.  Don’t let misapprehensions about fostering put you off finding out more. Christmas is a time for thinking about others and reaching out a helping hand, so please think about the tens of thousands of children who do not have a loving home, at this family-centred time of year." says Perpetual Fostering’s Clare Sutton.

Prospective carers should apply to:- Perpetual Fostering, 31 Chorley New Road, Bolton BL1 4QR.

You can also call them via:- 01204 364 666 or you can email them.

JLA welcomes early snowfall!

Staff and pupils from St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School join JLA’s Head of terminal Services, Dave Walsh (centre), following completion of their window display.

SNOW at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) is usually greeted with concern by Airport employees, but snow flakes appearing across the front of the terminal building have been welcomed by staff and passengers as this wintery downpour is all part of an initiative with pupils and teachers from nearby St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Speke, who have helped to bring a festive feel to the Airport.

Customer Services staff at JLA invited local schools and other groups to help celebrate the Christmas season with the thousands of passengers passing through over the coming weeks as part of a community initiative, involving fundraising collections.

Every child at St Christopher’s school has made a snowflake and with over 300 now on display at JLA, the Airport will be rewarding the pupils who made the best two designs with a VIP ‘behind the scenes tour’ of the airport for them, their parents and their teacher. Over the coming weeks, other local schools and groups will also be coming along to sing carols for passengers including the St Helens Youth Band, St Brigid's RC Primary School from Stockbridge Village, St Vincent's School for the Blind and Partially Sighted, based in West Derby and children from St Christopher’s School.

Christina Smith, JLA’s Customer Services Co-ordinator commented:- “The Airport already works closely with schools hosting many education based visits, but Staff were also really keen to work with local schools to see if the pupils wanted to help welcome passengers with a festive scene before they set off on their journeys. The work that has gone into the display is just amazing and each child has taken a lot of time to make this a great way to celebrate the Christmas period.”


MERSEYSIDE Police carried out a series of raids in Speke and Garston, on 3 December 2009, following concerns of local residents about the supply of drugs and associated crime in the area.  The raids, during which eight people were arrested on drugs charges, continues the Force's war on drugs and demonstrates to the public that Merseyside Police is doing all that can be done to improve the lives of the law-abiding majority. The operation saw more than 100 officers, including the dedicated Speke Neighbourhood Team, target 14 addresses across Speke, Garston and Cheshire. Officers also discovered a Cannbis factory with plants with a street value of several thousand pounds in Conleach Road in Speke. The operation was carried out in response to calls from residents that drugs and the crime associated had the greatest impact on their lives. These are their priorities and what they want police and its partner agencies to deal with. Six men and two women were arrested on conspiracy to supply Cocaine over the operation, which saw 14 warrants executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act.  Chief Inspector Dave Charnock, of Liverpool South BCU, said:- "We have given a committment to the local community that we will target people dealing drugs within their neighbourhoods. Today is part of our ongoing activities relating to our delivery on those promises. Today's arrests will have a significant impact on the quality of life for the people who live in Garston and Speke." Anyone with any information in relation to drugs activities within the area is asked to call the neighbourhood policing team in Speke on:- 0151 709 6010 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.

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