During Covid, most people were struggling being at home, wishing for the time when some normality resumed and restrictions were lifted. It was a tough time, especially not seeing loved ones and having to become a teacher overnight.
However, one couple decided on something that many couldn’t have even contemplated at that time as they were just about surviving being stuck in the house.
Clare and Gareth Pritchard came across an article about four siblings looking for a foster home. Gareth works in his local community and during Covid, they discussed the challenges that children in their community faced. It opened the conversation about fostering and as time went by those conversations increased.
As their older children had flown the nest, they had a spare bedroom. They decided to contact their local council, Swansea, to find out more information. They attended a virtual information event and you could say the rest is history.
Undoubtedly, there are people who would have been daunted by the prospect of everything being virtual. With home visits a no-no, the whole assessment had to be completed via Microsoft Teams, something that’s become all too familiar for many.
But this didn’t put Clare and Gareth off their desire to become foster carers.
“Like most people we found our work moved online during Covid so it was fine being assessed this way. If anything it made us more relaxed as we were in our own surroundings and found it easy to fit around work and the family.”
having support is crucial
Support for foster carers, and their families, is crucial but with all the restrictions and limitations at the time, there was the worry that people would feel isolated and unsupported. But this isn’t something that Clare and Gareth felt throughout their assessment and once approved.
“It is very important to get support from your friends and family when you’re foster carers. There are many ups and downs during the foster journey. When we, experienced challenges, we have found our social worker and the extended teams to be so supporting. It’s very important to communicate what you need and the support will be given”.
Clare and Gareth have been approved as foster carers since July 2021 and it wasn’t long until a child went to live with them, something they said was the hardest because they weren’t sure what to expect.
our first placement
“We were all on overdrive for the first 48 hours making sure everyone was happy and settled. After that we found our groove and everyone started to relax more. The first is the hardest as you’re not sure what to expect.”
the rewards of fostering
“There are so many rewards when fostering, these can be found in the small day-to-day things that we can all take for granted. From watching a child learn to let their guard down and trust adults, to seeing them excited when you stand on the side-lines of their rugby match. Whilst we have been challenged as a family, overall it’s been such a positive thing for all of us”.
Fostering can also have a profound effect on foster carers’ own children. Clare and Gareth have a 10 year son at home. Recently, he said: “There are lots of ups and downs when fostering but when you’re at your lowest point you are open to your biggest change.”
If you have your own children, you’re bound to want information on how fostering will affect them. Read our blog to find out more.
so why foster?
“In our communities there are many children in need of support. When you open your home to give them a safe environment to thrive you also teach them positive relationships. You’re not only helping this child now but you’re causing a ripple effect into their future. What you do to support this child now will affect all their relationships they have in the future from their partner, to children, to relationships, at work and in the community.
“We decided as a family to open our home to support a child and it’s been challenging but one of the best things we have done”.
get in touch
If you can open your door to a local child or young person and offer them a safe and loving home, then please get in touch for more information or to make an enquiry