Foster Care Fortnight, from Monday 15 May to Sunday 28 May, is the UK's biggest foster care awareness-raising campaign, organised by The Fostering Network. This year's theme is 'Fostering Communities'.
Cllr Barry Johnson, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "Here in Thurrock we are proud of our communities, and we have a successful fostering service striving to achieve the best outcome for children and young people.
"There are many ways to foster and help a local child – the team are looking for new or experienced Foster Carers to provide short, medium or long term care. However you foster, it can be one of the most rewarding things to do. Remember you do not have to live in Thurrock to be a Foster Carer with us.
"Thurrock Fostering are out and about in our communities throughout Foster Care Fortnight, please take a moment to stop and speak to them and find out about becoming a Foster Carer for Thurrock. I can't thank all of the businesses enough for supporting and providing space for our team. From c2c, Lakeside, John Lewis and many of the supermarkets, libraries and leisure centres in the area – thank you."
A current Foster Carer said: "I am so proud to be part of the Thurrock Fostering community making a difference to children and young people’s lives – it's a lovely community to be a part of. I have dedicated my time to fostering, but many of our Foster Carers work alongside this commitment.
"We are a small group of people who come together regularly to support each other and attend groups and activities together. We have learnt that sometimes the smallest gestures, like an hour at the park, give the children we are fostering an experience or lease of life they have not had before.
"I was really scared to make that first step and speak to Thurrock Fostering. I knew I wanted to become a Foster Carer but there was so much unknown: how old would my first child be? what would their background be? will they like me? will they settle in my home?
"I cannot express how supportive and helpful the team are every step of the way. I just wish I had become a Foster Carer sooner."
Thurrock Fostering is holding a number of information sessions and drop-in information stands during Foster Care Fortnight, giving you the chance to:
- find out about fostering for Thurrock
- hear about our competitive fostering allowances and benefits – including being exempt from paying Council Tax if you live in Thurrock
- have your questions answered by the Thurrock Fostering team and current Foster Carers
|Monday 15 May||10am to 2pm||Sainsbury's, Chafford Hundred||Drop-in information stand|
|Monday 15 May||4pm to 7pm||Chafford Hundred railway station||Drop-in information stand|
|Tuesday 16 May||10am to 3pm||John Lewis, Bluewater||Drop-in information stand|
|Wednesday 17 May||10am to 1pm||Tilbury Library||Drop-in information stand|
|Wednesday 17 May||10am to 2pm||Impulse Leisure Belhus||Drop-in information stand|
|Wednesday 17 May||3pm to 7pm||Impulse Leisure Blackshots||Drop-in information stand|
|Thursday 18 May||10am to 2pm||Morrisons, Grays||Drop-in information stand|
|Thursday 18 May||10:30am to 3pm||Waitrose, Billericay||Drop-in information stand|
|Thursday 18 May||6pm to 8pm||Online||Drop-in information session|
|Friday 19 May||7am to 10am||Pitsea railway station||Drop-in information stand|
|Friday 19 May||2pm to 4:30pm||Chadwell Library||Drop-in information stand|
|Saturday 20 May||8:30am to 10am||Thurrock Park Run, Orsett Heath||Drop-in information stand|
|Saturday 20 May||11am to 3pm||Sainsbury's, Chafford Hundred||Drop-in information stand|
|Monday 22 May||10am to 2pm||Asda, Tilbury||Drop-in information stand|
|Tuesday 23 May||7am to 10am||Fenchurch Street railway station||Drop-in information stand|
|Tuesday 23 May||1pm to 3pm||Civic Offices, Grays||In-person information session|
|Wednesday 24 May||9am to 9pm||Outside Primark Level 2, Lakeside Shopping Centre||Drop-in information stand|
|Thursday 25 May||10am to 3pm||John Lewis, Chelmsford||Drop-in information stand|
|Friday 26 May||10am to 2pm||Morrisons, Grays||Drop-in information stand|
For more information on becoming a Thurrock Foster Carer, to book onto an information session, or to make an enquiry, either go to thurrock.gov.uk/fostering, phone 0800 652 1256, or email email@example.com.