A team of 24 foster carers, the children they care for, their birth children and families, staff members and supporters took part in the Great South Run’s 10-mile, 5km, junior and mini races on behalf of Foster Portsmouth last weekend.

Eleven foster carers, five children they care for, five of their birth children, two Portsmouth City Council staff and a supporter all teamed up for the four races around our city over the weekend. Wearing branded running vests, they hoped to raise awareness of Foster Portsmouth and the need for more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to provide a safe home for the vulnerable children and young people in Portsmouth.

Foster carer Rob Cooke, who ran the 5km for Foster Portsmouth this year, said:

“I’ve been a keen runner for around 10 years. I’ve completed the Great South Run 10-mile race three times, one of which was for Foster Portsmouth. I prefer shorter runs now… and so do my knees!”

Rob added:

“I have loved fostering and would recommend it to anyone who feels they have some spare time. There are so many children who need caring for.”

The 5km, junior and mini races all took place on Saturday 14 October and the 10-mile race took place on Sunday 15 October. All four races took in many of the city’s iconic sites.

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

“It is fantastic to see some of the younger members of our fostering community join our Foster Portsmouth Great South Run team this year! It really made for an extra special family atmosphere over the weekend.”

Cllr Horton continued:

“Our team wearing our running vests really helps support us in raising the profile of Foster Portsmouth locally as well as the need for additional loving foster homes in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas for the children and young people in need of care in our city.”

“I’d like to thank all of the team on behalf of Foster Portsmouth!”

The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. Portsmouth City Council’s foster carers all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life. This could be a short or long-term arrangement until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied children seeking asylum or children with a disability, Supported Lodgings to develop their independent living skills, a parent and baby placement, or respite care.

Foster carer David Holmes said:

“The Great South Run is an amazing event and I ran in Foster Portsmouth colours again this year to raise awareness of the need for foster carers within the city.”

“My wife and I have been doing respite and short-term fostering through Portsmouth City Council for just under two years now and have found it to be a very rewarding experience opening our home to young people in need.”

David continued:

“I am running both the Great South Run and the Gosport half marathon with the aim to also raise funds for Flying Solo, an organisation that helps to support care leavers who begin their adult lives with no family support structure to fall back on.”

Foster Portsmouth needs more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the children and young people we look after in our city. Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom can foster with us regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.

It was a family affair for foster carer Nikki Cameron this weekend. Nikki ran the 5k with her son Jude, her husband Steve ran the 10-mile, and two more children in the family ran the junior and mini race.

Nikki shared:

“We are all a little stiff today!”

Clare Maker, who will be celebrating her third anniversary as a Portsmouth City Council respite and short-term foster carer later this month, reported:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the run which I didn’t expect to and beat my time from 2 years ago by about 15 minutes!”

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

To learn more about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 023 9283 4071, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email fostering@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.