A NEW campaign has been launched for to recruit more foster carers in Southmapton.

The intiative by Southampton City Council comes at the start of Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until May 25.

This is the country’s biggest fostering awareness campaign showcasing the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers. It also supports fostering services to highlight their importance.

Civic chiefs say the city needs at least 50 more carers, especially those who can consider teenagers and children aged eight and over – many of whom have experienced high levels of trauma.

Currently there are 515 ‘looked after children’ in the city.

Across the country the picture is even more urgent, as more than 7,000 new foster families are needed as around 72,600 children are in care.

Cllr John Jordan, member for children’s social care, is now calling on residents who can help to come forward.

“This fortnight provides us with the opportunity to highlight the vital work foster carers do to support some of our most vulnerable children,” he said.

“I would like to personally appeal to anyone who has the kindness and compassion to be a foster carer to get in touch with us. Our team will be there to support you every step of the way.”

Adverts have also been put up across the city, which were inspired by foster carers’ stories.

Many who were interview said the most rewarding aspect was the ability to make a difference. This was sometimes encapsulated in the smallest moments. Things as simple as taking a day out at the park, having a birthday party or even just being able to go outside and play on the grass.

Jenny Pike, a foster carer with Southampton City Council, said: “If you want to do something that can bring its challenges, but is so rewarding, I suggest you look into fostering.

“I have been fostering for 13 years now and I have never looked back. The children I have looked after have been aged from two years old to 18. It is so rewarding to see them mature into young adults.

“If you are thinking about it then I suggest you get in touch with the city council today. And if you’ve never considered it before, then I urge you to do so – it will be the best thing you ever do.”

Several pop-up events will be taking place during the fortnight. They are: Today from  10am – 1pm, Portswood Library; May 23, 10am – 2pm, Asda Totton; May 24, 10am – 12pm, Cafe in St James’ Park, Shirley.