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Fostering 'puts the life into living' for Brighton couple
Margaret and Ron Hitching prove that age is no barrier when it comes to helping children in need.
The retired couple have been foster carers to more than 30 children in Brighton and Hove and have no intention of stopping.
They are backing a drive by Brighton and Hove City Council's fostering team to encourage more people to sign up.
The service supports more than 100 foster carers offering short-term, longterm or respite care but is always on the look out for others.
At any one time there are more than 200 children living in Brighton and Hove foster homes.
Mrs Hitching, 65, and Mr Hitching, 67, first started fostering around 25 years ago after realising they were not going to be able to have children of their own.
They then went on to adopt the first three children they looked after and then continued to foster many others over the years.
Mrs Hitching said: “There was a gap for a while but then a fewyears ago I was nearing retirement age and we thought about fostering again.
“We thought we might be considered too old but it wasn’t a problem at all.
“We have looked after children aged from three to 16 and this can range from a few weeks to a few months.
“It can be challenging but it is good fun and really interesting and we get a real sense of achievement when helping them out.
“But we also get something out of it as well. It really puts the life back into living having young people around.
“It is great to have them running around and laughing and being able to teach them things.
“I would definitely urge people to consider fostering. The children deserve a good start and there is always a need for more carers.”
Mr Hitching said: “Seeing a change in the children while they are staying with you and how you have been able to help them is one of the best things.
“It is a job worth doing.”
The foster team is looking for people, regardless of their social background, who are able to offer a safe, caring home to a child who has had a difficult start in life.
Chairwoman of the council's children and young people committee, Sue Shanks, said: “We welcome interest in fostering from all sections of the community – old and young, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, heterosexual, lesbian or gay people.
“You can foster if you are single, married or living with someone.
“Our focus is on the children we look after. If you think you could offer one or more of them a safe, caring home we’d love to hear from you.”
Financial allowances of up to £1,400 per month are available for every child or young person fostered.
For more information, call 01273 295444 or visit www.fosteringinbrightonandhove.org.uk.
- You can foster if you are: Married or living together Single, either male or female Lesbian or gay
- Experienced parents or, without your own children but, with significant experience of caring for children
- Unemployed or employed Retired but have the energy and interest to care for a child
- Living in your own home or in rented property
- You will need to have enough time in your life and space in your home to care for a child or young person. You must have a spare bedroom.
- You are unable to become a foster carer if you have been convicted of offences against children or offences of a serious nature. All carers are checked