Hampshire teenager explains how foster care 'changed her life'

A TEENAGER has opened up about her journey rebuilding her life under foster care.

Monday, 21st February 2022, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 9:12 pm

Lucy, 19 from Basingstoke, spent 12 months sofa surfing around six years ago.

Talking about her experiences for Care Day last week, she revealed that moving into being fostered changed her life for the better.

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Lucy, 19 from Basingstoke, with her dog Bonnie. Picture: Hampshire County Council

She said: ‘I was 14 when I moved into “proper care”, for the year before that I’d been sleeping on friends’ sofas.

‘I got called out of class one day at school to speak to a social worker, they asked if I liked dogs and when I said yes, they told me they’d found me somewhere to stay that night.

‘I went back to my friend’s house, packed up my things and was collected that same evening.’

Lucy was taken to live with a couple called Denise and Chris, whose surnames have been removed for safeguarding reasons.

The move came at a perfect time for Lucy – she was sixth months away from her GCSEs and, with Chris and Denise’s help, started to turn her life around.

‘My life completely changed, I wasn’t out drinking and smoking any more, I was doing positive things with positive people,’ she said.

‘I loved playing with the dog in the garden and going to the gym with Chris. Having a routine really helped.

‘I worked really hard in the lead-up to my exams, I put posters and loads of revision notes all over my bedroom walls, I just wanted to do well. When I went to collect my results and saw that I’d passed everything, I cried my eyes out.

‘I was so proud of myself.’

Now, Lucy is working as an apprentice electrician at Southampton General Hospital, and is studying at Southampton City College.

She has a child of her own and a dog called Bonnie.

She said: ‘I understand why young people struggle in care, I suppose it could feel like you’ve been snatched away from your family, but really foster carers are there to give you a safe home and to provide for you/

‘I’m so glad I met Denise and Chris, they changed my life.’

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer can go to www.hants.gov.uk/fostering.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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