Young author helps to launch Wigan Borough’s Foster Care Fortnight

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A young author, who has written a poem inspired by the words of local children in care, will see his work come to life in a new video, created to launch this year’s Foster Care Fortnight.

Foster Care Fortnight (9-22 May) is recognised nationally and aims to spread understanding about the positive difference fostering can make to people’s lives.

Oskar Leonard, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, worked with Wigan Council’s Million Voices youth group to create the poem, ‘Supported through the Storm’, which conveys the positive impact local foster carers have had on the children and young people in their care.

The 18-year-old student then performed the poem for a video, which will be showcased on the council’s social media channels from 9 May.

Oskar said:
“Working with the young people to create a poem that used their words and thoughts about foster care was a really thought-provoking and emotional experience.

“I felt I had the privilege to be able to give them a creative outlet through my poem while also raising awareness to hopefully inspire more people to look into foster care in Wigan.

“Seeing the video and knowing that it may make a real difference for some young people was amazing and it has been a very worthwhile and touching project, which I am proud to have been a part of.”

The national theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is ‘Fostering Community’ and the poem is just one way that the strength and resilience of Wigan Borough’s fostering community will be recognised.

Foster carers themselves have been nominating those within the community who they feel should receive extra recognition this year and there will be a series of surprise ‘doorstep rewards’ during the two weeks, to acknowledge the winning nominees and present them with gifts.

There will also be a celebration event on 18 May when local foster carers will receive long service awards to thank them for their dedication and commitment.

Councillor Jenny Bullen is the Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Wigan Council.

She said:
“Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity for us to say a big thank you to all of the fantastic foster carers we have in the borough and to let them know how much we value their hard work and care.

“Foster carers really do change children and young people’s lives by offering them stability through safe and loving homes and introducing them to positive new opportunities and experiences.”

Wigan Council is currently recruiting new foster carers and Councillor Bullen is hoping the fortnight will encourage more local people to step forward and apply.

She added:
“Having more local foster carers will mean that we can look after our own children within the boundaries of Wigan Borough. This is a huge positive for our children as it usually means they don’t need to move schools and this is one of the many advantages of remaining living locally.

“I’m proud of the amazing support we’re able to offer our foster carers and can promise anyone who decides to step forward that you wouldn’t be on your own.

“If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, please get in touch and find out more so that you can decide if it’s for you.”

Wigan Council run regular virtual information sessions, which are open to anyone who has an interest in becoming a foster carer.

The next ones are Wednesday 11 May and 18 May at 7pm.

Go to www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering to find out more and book your place.

To watch Oskar’s poem video, ‘Supported through the Storm’ go to https://bit.ly/37NPSaL