Portsmouth City Council are holding their first foster carer recruitment event of 2023 on Saturday 21 January from 10am-1pm at Portsmouth’s Holiday Inn Express, Farlington.

As you clinked flutes or joined the count down this New Year’s Eve, what resolutions did you make? How about one that changes your life… and theirs?

Our first fostering drop-in event of the new year will be held on Saturday 21 January from 10am-1pm at Portsmouth’s Holiday Inn Express, Farlington. It will provide an opportunity for people living in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas who wish to find out more about fostering to talk directly to existing foster carers and to hear first-hand about the rewards fostering can bring.

Due to the national shortage of foster carers, we need more loving homes for vulnerable children and young people in our city, in particular those aged 10 and over.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Group Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, commented:

“Over two thirds of children in our care are aged 10 or over. This presents a pressing need to find additional foster carers for older children and teens who find themselves in need in Portsmouth.”

“There are stubborn myths that persist around the fostering of teens as they are often pigeonholed. However, many behaviours are either those of typical teens or they may be born of insecurity, fear and confusion. Sadly, these myths can prevent potential foster carers from applying or considering older children, ultimately denying these children a loving home.”

Cllr Horton, who will drop into the event on Saturday, continued:

Fostering teenagers and supporting them as they navigate their way towards adult life is highly rewarding. We need people with the time and patience to help these young people flourish and meet their potential, or indeed any other child in need, to come forward and discover how they can make a difference to their lives, and their own.”

Foster Portsmouth simply ask those considering fostering to keep an open mind regarding the children they feel they can care for while they explore the options, gain insight from our existing foster carers, and discover the support on offer.

It is never too late to make a difference to young lives as foster carer, Zhoura Blakeman, shares:

“It’s so rewarding to be a foster carer and to give these young people an opportunity to strive forward in life and to have positive outcomes. It is the best thing in the world. I absolutely love working with the young people.”

We need more foster carers from diverse backgrounds in the Portsmouth area to reflect the looked after children and young people in our city. Young people like 14-year-old Josh* who loves the outdoors; going to the park, walking in the woods, climbing trees and looking for insects, and is looking for a long-term foster family. Josh, described as having a ‘great personality’, has gained in confidence and is doing very well in school.

Zhoura explains:

“If you have a spare bedroom, then you can welcome a young person into your home and give them the nurture and care that they’re looking for.”

We welcome all enquiries about fostering. This could be a short or long term placement for a child or siblings until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disabilitySupported Lodgings to develop their independent living skills, parent and baby placements, or respite care.

Anyone aged 18+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicitysexualitymarital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.

Foster carers receive excellent, local training and 24/7 support, including through our pioneering Mockingbird Programme support network and mentoring scheme, and competitive fees and allowances.

If you’ve ever thought about fostering, why not make taking that next step one of your new year’s resolutions?

Join us to learn more about the positive impact you can make to the lives of Portsmouth’s vulnerable children and young people.

For more information on the event on Saturday 21 January, or any of our forthcoming community events, please visit: www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk/events. There’s no need to book, people can simply drop-in between 10am-1pm. Free parking and refreshments will be available.

For more information on fostering in general, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 023 9283 4071, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email fostering@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.


*Some images contain models and names are changed to protect identities.