Manchester City Council is looking to recruit short break carers for disabled children at a free event this Saturday (25 September) in Blackley.
The event, held from 12 noon to 3pm, at the Lakeside Café in Boggart Hole Clough, will give visitors the chance to ask council staff, short break carers and the families they support, questions in an informal setting. There will also be a range of family activities including face-painting and other craft sessions.
Anyone is welcome to attend, and the Council is looking to find carers who could care for a disabled child one weekend a month in their own home.
Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children's Services at Manchester City Council, said: "I'd encourage anyone who has the generosity to open up their homes to another child, to come to this event and find out more from people who have first-hand experience."
One couple who are very experienced in short-break care are Jenny and Kevin Duff, both aged 41, who live in Blackley. The couple have three children of their own, Jessica, 20, Amy, 19 and Liam, 12. Jenny and Kevin started short break care 15 years ago. This is Jenny's experience in her own words:"We are like one huge extended family. The children who have come to stay with us over the years have become part of my family's lives - so much so that both my daughters are doing degrees in nursing and social work and want to specialise in disability issues.
"We include any child that stays with us in this family's life and want them to know all our friends. It's a busy household, and each person brings their own strengths and character to the mix. My own children are very aware of disability and this knowledge passes on to their friends and friends of friends.
"I need to be able to juggle a lot of things to run such a big family, but I love the way it gives me such a defined and clear role. Building up relationships with any new child and their family takes time, but the emotional reward and satisfaction is immense. I get to know that child and all his or her special gifts and I can also see how much it helps the birth family to have a break in caring.
"I'd sum it up by saying we are one big family, who do a lot of sharing and caring and that's how we work best."
To find out more information about fostering visit
www.fosterformanchester.com or telephone 0800 9888 931, or call the Disabled Children's Team on 0161 881 0911.