THE grand opening of a charity’s new centre came with an important message – more foster carers are urgently needed.
The Children’s Family Trust (CFT), a national independent fostering agency, opened its office in Waterlooville and invited Steve Power from radio station Wave 105 to cut the ribbon across the door.
The charity’s CEO, president, manager, and chairman were joined by CFT trustees, social workers and foster carers to celebrate.
Marina Mulholland, CFT’s chief executive, said: ‘We urgently need more foster carers. On any given day across the UK there’s a deficit of 9,000, more and more children are going into care.
‘We’ve had a regional office in the south for some time, we were based in Petersfield but moved to Waterberry Drive in Waterlooville because it’s central for our foster carers.
‘We needed more space because the number of foster carers, foster families and children we have is growing.’
The centre has 2,000sq ft of space across two floors, and the charity will conduct training, meetings, and panels there.
They will also host charity-related events and parties.
Marina added: ‘It’s a place for our children to come and take part in activities too – it really is key for us.’
‘Anyone interested in fostering can pop in – singles, males, females, there’s no upper age limit. People can foster on a long-term, short-term or respite basis.
‘We take children of all ages, sibling groups and mother and baby placements, where women settle with our carers who help them get used to being mums.’
Patricia Moore, from Lee-on-the-Solent, is one of CFT’s carers and currently has two foster children.
She said: ‘CFT has a charity status and that influenced my decision in choosing a group to work with. The new space is brilliant.
‘Fostering is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done, it’s hard and takes dedication, but it’s amazing.’
Jo Austin, from Drayton, is another of CFT’s carers. She added: ‘I think this new centre could get more people from Waterlooville fostering. The charity’s sign is up, so people can see it’s there.’