A CHARITY has unveiled a new campaign to help encourage people to foster in East Lancashire.

Children and families’ charity Child Action Northwest (CANW) has started a campaign the Foster Care Confessionals to help raise awareness of fostering and recruit more potential foster carers.

The charity kicked off the campaign on May 11, to coincide with the start of Foster Care Fortnight 2020.

Various families give their account on what fostering is like.

One such couple, Stephen and Melanie Williams, from Clayton-le-Dale, started fostering in 2014 and have fostered over 15 children since then.

They said: “We started when our children got older.

“It was something we have always wanted to do because I have things in common with the kids in care.

“Neither of us had the best childhoods and I was looking after my siblings when we were young.

“It was really now or never.”

Their own children, Conner and Cameron, are now 16 and 14 and are very supportive of their parents fostering other children.

Mrs Williams said: “They were really excited when we started fostering.

“Our first placement was a teenage girl and they liked the idea of having a big sister, so it was a good experience for them.”

The couple touch upon the challenges of fostering children but say it is worth it.

Mrs Williams said: “Of course, there are challenges with it, it won’t always go the way you want it to.

“After the first girl left we got an emergency placement and it was her first time in foster care and she had gone missing many times before.

“You need a lot of patience and CANW helped us lot during the time and even offered to let her see a psychologist.

“We got through it and we still see her today and many others who have been in our care.”

Currently the family have three foster children and want to encourage more people to take up fostering.

Mr Williams said: “I would say if you want to do something meaningful in life then this is it. It’s unpredictable and not a nine-to-five job but it’s rewarding.

“We want people to see this and help out because we need more foster families in the community," Mr Williams added.