Carmarthenshire foster carer hopes sharing their fostering moments will encourage more people to become carers.

19 days ago

This Foster Care Fortnight™, Foster Wales Carmarthenshire is calling on people in the area to consider becoming foster carers to support local young people in need.

Recent research by Foster Wales – the national network of local authority fostering services – found people are often put off applying to become a carer because they don’t believe they have the ‘right’ skills and experience.

In their new cookbook – Bring something to the table – Foster Wales highlight the simple things, a carer can offer – like the security of a regular meal, family time around the table, and creating new food favourites. 

Bring something to the table has over 20 recipes, including recipes from the foster care community, and celebrity chefs.

MasterChef Winner, Wynne Evans; Young MasterChef Judge, Poppy O’Toole; and cook/author Colleen Ramsey have contributed recipes. Also featured are Olympic athlete and foster care campaigner, Fatima Whitbread, who was herself in care.

Former Great British Bake-Off contestant Jon Jenkins and comedian Kiri Pritchard Mclean also added recipes – drawing on their personal experiences as foster carers.

Foster carer from Carmarthenshire shares her journey fostering a girl who was just 4 years old when she first arrived, “She's now in her last year of school, she has made significant progress. She has additional needs and is unable to live independently without support.”

Like many children in foster care, consistency and feeling part of the family play an important part in offering a stable home. The foster carer explained “We take care to maintain consistency in our daily activities. For example, we give her weekly meal plans so she knows what meals we will eat and when, but we also give her the freedom to choose if she wants something different.”

“My own children are committed just as much as me, to the point they are willing to take over her care when and if I am unable to. It's the consistency and the stability we provide that gives her the greatest degree of independence.”

Care-experienced young people share authentic experiences

To launch the book, Colleen Ramsey, author of ‘Bywyd a Bwyd, Life Through Food’, will host a cookery workshop for young care-experienced people to learn a new recipe and vital cooking skills to take into their future independent lives.

Young care experienced people have also been heavily involved in the development of the cookbook.

Sophia Warner, a Welsh illustrator, campaigner, and care-experienced young person, illustrated and wrote the foreword for the cookbook:

“When I was younger, I vividly recall grilling my foster mum about the origins of the food she presented, insisting it hailed from Brecon, my beloved childhood stomping ground. I penned ‘Brecon Bolognese’ for the cookbook, based on my foster mum’s recipe.

“This recipe holds a special place in my heart because it was the first meal I had when I moved into my foster home. I mentioned that my birth mum used to make it and my foster mum lovingly prepared it for me. As I sat around the table with my new foster family, I felt a sense of belonging and warmth, making me feel truly welcome.”

More foster families are needed across Wales 

Every May, Foster Care Fortnight™ - The Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives – hope to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers.

In Wales, there are more than 7,000 children in care, but only 3,800 foster families.

Foster Wales has set out with the bold aim of recruiting over 800 new foster families by 2026, to provide welcoming homes for local children and young people.

Carmarthenshire Head of Children and Families Services, Jan Coles says: “Foster Care Fortnight provides another opportunity for us to say thank you to our foster carers in Carmarthenshire for their exceptional dedication to supporting our young people.”

“The 'bring something to the table' campaign and cookbook emphasises the significance of small gestures that can profoundly impact children's lives. It also shows the diversity of our fostering community in Wales. We invite everyone to consider what they have to offer our children in foster care.”

Bring something to the table has over 20 recipes, including recipes from the foster care community, and celebrity chefs.

MasterChef Winner, Wynne Evans; Young MasterChef Judge, Poppy O’Toole; and cook/author Colleen Ramsey have contributed recipes. Also featured are Olympic athlete and foster care campaigner, Fatima Whitbread, who was herself in care.

Former Great British Bake-Off contestant Jon Jenkins and comedian Kiri Pritchard Mclean also added recipes – drawing on their personal experiences as foster carers.

The cookbook will be distributed to foster carers across Wales and a digital version can be downloaded from: fosterwales.gov.wales/bringsomethingtothetable

To find out more about becoming a foster carer visit www.carmarthenshire.fosterwales.gov.wales or call 0800 0933 699