Manchester City Council is currently looking to recruit an extra 50 foster carers over the coming months, and wants to hear from anyone who has room in their homes and their hearts to offer a loving home to a young person, and to give them the chance to experience the kind of celebrations and family life most of us take for granted.
With the festive season now upon us and families across the city arranging special get-togethers over the coming weeks, the council is urging people to think about the many vulnerable children and young people who can't for whatever reason spend time with their families, and who won't be going this year to any seasonal family gatherings.
A number of fostering information evenings will be taking place over the next couple of weeks for anyone interested in finding out more.
One person who knows all about fostering is 61 year old June from north Manchester - one of the city's longest serving foster carers. After seeing an advert for fostering, she made the phone call that has shaped the rest of her life, and with husband Trevor has been a foster carer now for more than thirty years. During this time the pair have looked after more than 100 vulnerable children, young people and babies.
Over the years they have celebrated countless birthdays, Christmases and other family focused events with the children they've looked after, whilst also nurturing and being there at just the right time for them.
It's a job June has never tired of.
She said: "I can't really describe the feeling. I just love it and everything about it. Taking this tiny or even newborn baby and getting them to the stage where they're sociable and confident, and helping them to develop and watching them pick up words and then start talking is wonderful. And then seeing them learn to laugh and enjoy themselves is the most amazing feeling.
"I get such a lot out of looking after the children who live with us - seeing the joy on their faces when they go back home if they're able to at some point, or helping them move on with confidence and happiness to a new family. Just watching their self esteem grow as they feel more secure and start to socialise and enjoy themselves is such a good feeling. There really is no other job like it."
Drop in events to find out more about fostering are being held on:
Tuesday 24 November
9 am - 12 noon
Harpurhey Market, North City Shopping Centre, Moston Lane, M9 4DH
Friday 4 December
11 am - 2 pm
Gorton Market, Gorton District Centre, Garratt Way, M18 8LD
The events will provide the chance to have a face-to-face chat with social workers and current foster carers and to get direct expert advice to help people decide if fostering is for them.
Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children's Services, Manchester City Council, said: "Foster carers make an enormous difference to the lives of children and young people. I'd ask anyone who loves children and thinks they can make a positive difference to a child or young person to think what it must be like to have no family around you to have fun with and be around at times of year like this, and to take some time out of their busy festive preparations to go along to one of our drop-in events, or get in touch with us to find out more."
More information about fostering is available at fosterformanchester.com or from the council’s fostering and adoption line tel: 0800 988 8931.