A pop-up shop in Northampton’s main shopping centre will be home to Northamptonshire County Council’s fostering team and foster carers, who are inviting members of the public to come and find out more about fostering over a cup of coffee this Saturday.
Legal & General’s Grosvenor Centre has agreed to provide a temporary space within the shopping centre which will be transformed into an informal information zone where foster carers and social workers will be on hand to talk to people interested in finding out more.
The fostering recruitment shop will be open on Saturday from 10am till 4pm on the first floor near the Costa coffee shop. There’ll be a chance for families and friends to have their photograph taken against a special fostering backdrop with a photo gallery being published on the council’s website on Tuesday.
Councillor Catherine Boardman, cabinet member for children’s social care, said: "The fostering shop is a great chance for anyone who is interested in finding out more to drop in and talk to the team over a hot drink and a biscuit.
“We’re delighted to have the support of Legal & General, who is backing our call for more foster carers by donating the shop space for the day.
“This is another element of our fostering stars campaign where we’re saying to the people of Northamptonshire that the real stars in our community are the ones who make a difference to another person’s life. That’s why each and every one of our foster carers has true star quality and why we’re asking more potential stars to step forward.
“By having a presence in the Grosvenor Centre, we’re hoping that the message is loud and clear: we need families who do normal everyday things like shopping, meeting up with friends or grabbing a burger.”
With approximately 760 children in care, the council wants to recruit more foster carers to increase the chances of a child in care staying in their local area and to avoid having to use agency placements that could see them living away from their local community.
Simon Russian, head of retail development at Legal & General, added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the difference that fostering can make in allowing Northamptonshire children in care to stay close to home. We are delighted to offer the county council use of the temporary space within the Grosvenor Centre for such an important local initiative and hope that together we are able to reach as many people as possible.”
Foster carers are paid a weekly allowance and receive a full training package. A recent Ofsted report on the county’s fostering services found that foster carers in the county feel their views are valued by the council and foster carers and children feel supported.
At the moment the council has around 220 foster families.
For more information about fostering, people can visit the council’s website at www.fosterme.co.uk