North Ayrshire foster carers who gave children opportunities to live and thrive in a safe home are now encouraging others to consider doing the same.

Foster Care Fortnight runs until Sunday, May 28 and, in support of the drive to attract new carers, North Ayrshire Council is hosting an information event in Irvine’s Volunteer Rooms from 10am to 3pm on Monday, June 5.

The council's Families for Children team will host the relaxed drop-in session to provide information on fostering and adoption opportunities to people who would like to know more, and some of our foster carers will be there on the day to share their own experiences.

In addition, the team is keen to hear from those who feel they could offer a home to children who have disabilities and those who could take a small family group, so that brothers and sisters can remain together.

Within North Ayrshire Council, there are flexible options to foster - with different arrangements possible. This includes the opportunity to provide children and young people with short breaks, interim fostering and/or longer-term care.

Mark, 52, and his partner Wendy, 48, are interim foster carers and currently care for two boys aged nine and 10 and their eight-year-old sister.

The couple decided to foster after their own children grew up and moved out of the family home.

Mark said: “We have a lot of love to give, and we wanted to help other children. Being able to see them flourish, reach their full potential and give them opportunities is great. The kids do athletics, Cubs, Scouts, swimming, football and after-school clubs.

“They feel loved and safe, and know that we are always there for them. I would recommend fostering. It is really worthwhile and rewarding, and it is great to see the kids coming on.

“I would tell people thinking about fostering to find out everything they can. Just take that first step – you won’t regret it – and get all the information you can. If you have got a lot of love to give, it is great.

Jackie, 53, and her partner, who is 47, adopted two children who are now aged seven and 14.  The couple are currently working their way through the council training programme to prepare to become foster carers.

Jackie  said: “Many years ago, the mother of a girl I worked with was a foster carer. I thought it was great because their house was always busy, busy. It was chaotic, but fun.

“I have always thought that children bring joy to a household.  I just want to give something back through fostering and help make a child’s life as fulfilled as possible. I wanted to give something back to the community.

“The training is insightful and interesting, and the support from the council has been great. Adoption was the best thing we ever did, and my two children are on board with us fostering.”

Angela, 56, has been a foster carer for two years and is currently looking after a baby – who has been with her since she was a day old – and a ten-year-old boy.

She said: “Children need a door to be opened for them to let them have life experiences. This is their right.

“People can stereotype children – yet their health, education, everything is affected. People don’t see the trauma in children, and they need to be nurtured and cared for.

“They all have different needs, and they need somebody to support them and be there for them consistently. They all have different stories and journeys.

“I would advise people considering fostering to speak to a few foster carers, and find out about their experiences.”

All three current carers are pleased with the training and support from the Families for Children Team and agree that creating routines and stability for children is key.

At the drop-in information day at the Volunteer Rooms, the Families for Children Team is particularly keen to hear from those who feel they could offer a home to children who have disabilities and those who could take a small family group, so that brothers and sisters can remain together.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and want to find out more, please email the team at or call 01294 310300 (Option 4, then Option 1)
Alternatively, come along to the Volunteer Rooms at 19 High Street Irvine on Monday, June 5 between 10am and 3pm. The team will be delighted to see you and answer any questions.

There is no need to book and you can bring a friend along to enjoy a cup of tea.

Councillor Margaret Johnson, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Hopefully, by sharing their own experiences, Mark, Jackie and Angela have encouraged potential foster carers to come forward and find out more.

“The event at the Volunteer Rooms offers the ideal opportunity for people to find out more and take the first step to improving a child’s life – and their future.”