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So special season for fostering in Brighton and Hove
For most of us the festive period is a time for joy and celebration.
But for children in care it can be a difficult time.
Mandy and Rob Goddard are among a group of volunteers who are well aware of this.
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That is why they will be sharing their home and their love with some of most vulnerable youngsters in society.
As foster parents for more than 20 years, they know that everyone wants some special attention at a special time of year.
Speaking from her family home, Mandy said: “For children who’ve had a difficult start in life and can’t live with their parents, just being able to enjoy a happy family Christmas can be a big bonus.
“It’s a special time of year, and everyone wants to feel loved and cared for.”
Rob knows just how it feels – he himself was fostered as a child.
He said: “I had one set of foster carers for the whole of my childhood.
“They always treated me as part of their family, and that’s what we do now.
“Fostering means everything to me. I was lucky, so for me it’s now about giving something back and letting other children share the good fortune that I had.”
They both say fostering is about being there for children, listening to them and giving them time and attention.
Building trust is also an important, says Mandy.
She said: “It’s about boosting their confidence and making them feel good about themselves.
“You can make a huge difference to their lives, and that’s a great feeling.
Mandy and Rob have two birth children of their own, now in their 20s.
The younger one never knew anything other than growing up with foster children Mandy said: “We’re a good team and I think fostering also keeps us feeling young.
“I think us being foster carers has also been good for our own children.
They’ve both said they want to be foster carers themselves when the time is right for them.
“As foster carers you have to accept that the children you look after are not your children, and that they will go when they are ready.
“But it’s lovely that so many of them have stayed in touch.”
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