Wigan couple give insight into foster care

A Wigan couple have shared their experiences on the joys and challenges that come with being foster carers.

Dawn and Keith Wilson, from Whelley, have been foster carers for just under three years.

They decided to look into it after their two children left home.

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Dawn said: “Me and Keith courted when we were very young, and we got married and had kids quite quickly so when they fled the nest, we felt a little bit bored sometimes and we knew we could give more children a good home.

Dawn and Keith Wilson

“We were having a meal one night and we decided we’d look into it.

“I don’t know why, but even after that conversation we didn’t do anything about it straight away.

“A little while later we talked about it again, and this time, we just knew it was the right time to do it. We both knew we weren’t getting any younger and we should go for it.

“Working with the council has been brilliant, everyone we’ve worked with there has been brilliant and we’ve always had the help and support we’ve needed.

The main advantage for me is that everything is local, I feel at ease with Wigan, and it’s been working well for us.”

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Over the year they have fostered various children including a young mum who the couple supported through pregnancy, a newborn baby and two teenagers.

They are currently looking after three siblings.

Fostering has allowed Dawn to reconnect with old friends and would encourage anyone to consider it.

Dawn added: “We weren’t originally set up to take three children at once but when we got the call to ask if we could take them, we knew we would.

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“They were coming that same day, so we rushed out to Tesco’s and bought loads of cereal and some pyjamas.“We phoned the local bed shop and explained the situation and asked if they could quickly get us a set of bunk beds and luckily they did it straight away for us!

“I think one of the skills you need as a foster carer is to be able to build routines for the children. Every child we’ve looked after has been different but all children benefit from a positive routine.

"At the beginning there were times when we didn’t think we could do it as there are sometimes challenges but we’re both really glad that we have.

“There have been lots of ‘best bits’ over the past few years. I love seeing how the children grow and get more confident.

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"I also love it when some of the children we’ve fostered in the past, now young adults, come back to visit. It makes you wonder where the time has gone but it’s great to see them doing well.

“We feel that fostering is helping to keep us young. Children help give you energy and we’ve also met so many new people as children help get you out and about and meeting other people again.

“I’ve even reconnected with two old friends, who I’d lost touch with, as they’re both fostering now, so that’s been really nice.

“To anyone who’s thinking about fostering I would say, just do it. “It isn’t always easy, but we honestly wish we’d done it years ago.

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“We’ve never looked back.”

To find out more about fostering click here