Foster Portsmouth once again secured places in last weekend’s Great South Run for a team of their foster carers. This year, they were also joined by a team of council staff and a number of supporters.
The south coast’s biggest and best running event took place on Sunday 16 October 2022 and took in all the sights and sounds of Portsmouth. These included the naval base and historic dockyard with the Spinnaker Tower soaring above, the city’s cathedral, naval memorial and Canoe Lake along our esplanades, and the glorious seafront finish at Southsea Castle and the D-Day Museum.
Seven foster carers, two supporters and over 12 staff members teamed up for the 10-mile course around our city, wearing a branded running vest or t-shirt to help raise awareness of Foster Portsmouth and the need for additional foster carers from diverse backgrounds to provide a safe home for the vulnerable children and young people in Portsmouth.
Ruth and Glen Jones, who have completed the race each year for Foster Portsmouth since 2016, are currently long-term foster carers of two brothers. Ruth commented: ” Glen and I always run – it’s part of our lifestyle and allows us to take a break from foster care and keep fit. It’s good to have a challenge to aim for, inspire our children into a healthier lifestyle, and soak up the wonderful atmosphere a large running event like GSR brings with it.”
Ruth and Glen have also offered emergency and respite foster care as well as long-term care for our city’s children including a number of teenagers and unaccompanied minors in need of a safe and loving home. Ruth continued: “I took up running when I first had children as a way of keeping fit, it being cheap to access, and the most time flexible activity you can do. When you look after children time is always an issue!”
Ruth concluded: “We are running for Foster Portsmouth to try and bring some awareness for the need for additional foster carers in Portsmouth and the surrounding area. It’s a huge event which attracts people from all walks of life, both in taking part and spectating. We like diversity amongst our carers; all you need is a spare room and a passion to help local children. You don’t directly have to live in Portsmouth either – we live on the Isle of Wight and there is quite a community of us fostering for Portsmouth City Council.”
Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, commented: “Our foster carers are highly dedicated to the welfare of the vulnerable children and young people in need of care in our city. They are also hugely supportive of the service and are keen to help us raise awareness of the need for more foster carers in the Portsmouth area.”
Cllr Horton continued: “It is also fantastic to see so many of our staff members and other supporters joining our team this year, taking on the challenge of this fantastic race and helping us raise the profile Foster Portsmouth. I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations and thank you to all of the team.”
The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. Portsmouth City Council’s foster carers come from diverse backgrounds and they all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life. This could be a short or long-term arrangement until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, a parent and baby placement, or respite care.
Menno Groen, who has provided Supported Lodgings for vulnerable young people in the Portsmouth area for four years, shared: “The Great South Run is a great event, with a lot of the local community taking part. My wife Tamara and I have been Supported Lodgings carers for a few years now which has been very rewarding, so I’m very happy to be running for Foster Portsmouth in the GSR this year.”
Foster Portsmouth is in need of more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the looked after children and young people in our city. Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom can foster with us regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
Another member of the Foster Portsmouth team this year was foster carer and Portsmouth City Council staff member Steve Curtis. Steve, who has been a respite carer for children with additional needs for the past six years, said: “I chose to run for Foster Portsmouth because it is a great opportunity for me to raise the profile of the service both on the run but also by sharing my story. I know that there is a need for new carers to come through all year round and I hope to make a small contribution to that.”
Steve went on to share: “I took part because I like the challenge of preparing for a long run. I have done a number of different organised runs but the Great South Run is a true celebration of the city and the crowd are so supportive. One of the young people we provide care for helps me with my training when he stays with us, we go on practise runs together and go to the gym to do strength work. He inspires me to enter each year and he always asks to see my finishers medal if he is unable to attend.”
Foster carers receive excellent, local training and 24/7 support, including through our pioneering Mockingbird Family Model support network and mentoring scheme, and competitive fees and allowances.
To learn more about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 023 9283 4071, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.