Local school children, foster carers and social workers gathered at Sherwood Forest County Park to urge more people to become foster carers to help give Nottinghamshire’s looked after children much-needed roots.
Launching the new campaign, 60 Edwinstowe children from St Mary’s CofE and King Edwin Primary Schools formed a giant ‘200’ to represent the number of foster placements needed.
Pupils then joined Nottinghamshire County Council’s Chairman, Councillor Kevin Rostance, Vice-Chairman of Children and Young People’s Committee, Councillor Tracey Taylor, as well as Robin Hood and Friar Tuck to mark the start of a 200 tree-planting project dedicated to Nottinghamshire’s looked after children.
Youngsters planted the first 20 trees near the visitor centre. The remaining 180 will be planted in the coming weeks by RSPB volunteers. All 200 trees have been generously donated by the Woodland Trust.
Councillor Tracey Taylor said: “The number of children in care in Nottinghamshire has been steadily rising, so this campaign is absolutely vital. We have set a high target of recruiting at least 200 new fosters carers.
“By launching our campaign at the iconic Sherwood Forest Country Park and planting new trees, it helps sends the message that foster carers help lay vital roots for children in care by giving them a stable and loving home.”
Sophie Eadsforth, Group Manager, County Council’s Fostering Services, said: “Foster carers make such a huge difference to the lives of the young people they care for. They often talk about how rewarding the role of being a foster carer is and the sense of achievement they feel when they make a breakthrough with a young person in their care.
“There are many different types of foster care including full-time and part-time roles, so if you are interested in fostering, please get in touch and we will help match you to the right type of fostering for you.”
Zoe from Kirkby in Ashfield, who has been a foster carer for four years, said: “If you have been thinking about fostering and have room for a child in your house, but are not sure whether it’s for you or not, my advice is to just go for it.
“The advice, support and training available from the county council’s social work team is just brilliant. And there are plenty of foster care events being held to find out more.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about fostering can visit the website www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering, call 0115 804 4440 or follow the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fosternotts. On the website you can watch an inspiring new fostering film, find out when free monthly information evenings are held and download an information pack.