Change a life, foster with Swindon

Tuesday, 07 December, 2021

Every 20 minutes, a child in need of a safe home comes into care in the UK. In Swindon alone, there has consistently been between 305-310 children and young people in the care of the Council over the last 18 months, with hundreds more in need of support across the South West.

Despite this, sadly, the number of foster carers available to support these children is reducing and more placements are desperately needed to provide the safe and loving home these vulnerable children deserve.

Foster carers change the lives of young people who are in need of a caring family at a critical point in their lives. Often, support and guidance at the right time will set a child on a positive path through their life and open them up to experiences they never would have had otherwise.

Children in care don’t always look like the children you might imagine. They could be teenagers, siblings, or even unaccompanied asylum seekers who have fled their homes to seek safety in the UK. Nikki, who fosters with Swindon Borough Council, has fostered several children seeking refuge in the UK. She said: “I have tried all types of fostering but my heart is with caring for asylum seeking children. When they arrive they are always scared and the language barrier often means they have no clue what is happening to them.

“These young people have left their families, friends and culture to flee to the UK and they are lonely, scared and sometimes overwhelmed.  They are living with strange people from another culture to their own, the foods, the way of life is very different to their own and they need someone there to support them and guide them through it.”

There are also different types of fostering available, and the right kind of placement could depend on a person’s personal circumstances. Short and long-term placements are the most frequent types of care needed but there is also the option to join the Emergency Duty Service, which would provide an approved carer with a child at short notice, for up to eight days. This kind of support is vitally needed and would provide a vulnerable child with some comfort and a safe place to stay at what can be a really traumatic and stressful time in their life.

Foster carers come from all walks of life. There are many common myths about who can become a foster carer, but regardless of background or lifestyle, local authorities are looking for people who can help a child have positive opportunities; people who have time to support a child in their family home; and people who have a spare bedroom.

As a local authority, Swindon Borough Council is able to offer support, training and a local fostering community. The Council will work closely with applicants throughout the programme, to give them the skills they need. Ana and Steve, who foster with Swindon Borough Council, said: “Since transferring from another provider we have been so impressed and excited about the diversity the Council has to offer with its training programme. Every month there is such a variety of topics, some which have not been available to us before.

“We feel confident moving forward there will be plenty of training available which will help us best support the young people we look after.”

If you think you could change the life of a vulnerable child and provide a safe home, weekly virtual information sessions are currently being held by the Fostering Team. To book on to a session, or if you’d just like to find out more, visit the Swindon Borough Council website:, or email and one of our friendly team will be in touch.

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