An innovative new approach to recruiting desperately-needed foster carers for children in Leicestershire County Council’s care has kicked off – with the fostering message being emblazoned across the shirts of young footballers and rugby players.
There are currently almost 700 children in care in Leicestershire, and the council’s fostering team is always looking at ways to encourage people to come forward to volunteer as foster carers and to make a real difference to the lives of these children.
And with the men’s World Cup in Qatar underway, the fostering team is hoping that its sponsoring of two junior football clubs – including a girls’ team - will help to spread the message and encourage people to think about becoming foster carers.
Fostering Leicestershire is sponsoring two boys' teams, Stoneygate Lions Football Club and Ashby Rugby Football Club, and Heather St John's Hawkettes Football Club, the first girls' team in their area. The sponsorship aims to raise awareness of the need for foster carers among local football and rugby fans.
The fostering team is hoping that word might reach those not yet aware of the benefits fostering can offer them.
It’s really hard to get people talking about fostering at the moment, so we have to try new approaches.
There’s real enthusiasm about the men’s World Cup, on the back of the Lionesses’ fantastic European Championship victory in the summer, and we want to tap into that. This innovative approach means we can support the young players in their passion, and encourage children to be healthy and active, while getting a really important message about the need for foster families out onto football and rugby pitches across the county.
If we can recruit more foster carers, we can offer children in care more stability and the chance to stay close to their own communities. Fostering is a fantastic opportunity for people to help shape the life of a young person, and of course, it is very rewarding.
Leicestershire County Council continuously invests in its family of foster carers, meaning that people who come forward get access to excellent training courses and support groups to help them progress in their journey.
Person:Councillor Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for children and family services
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, enquiries from members of the public who are interested in fostering have decreased greatly across the country, while the need for carers continues to rise.
The new sponsorships include the design of new kits featuring the fostering logo and website, pitchside advertising at grounds, and the sharing of ‘Find out about Fostering’ events on the clubs’ websites and social media channels.
More information about fostering is available at FosteringLeicestershire.com, by texting WEAREFAMILY to 60777 or calling 0116 305 0505 (Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm).