Derby foster carers urge people to make a difference by joining them

Published: 19 May 2023

Derby foster carers Sarah and Graham Pyman

Derby foster carers Sarah and Graham Pyman have been fostering for eight years

More foster carers are needed to look after some of Derby’s most vulnerable children. Derby City Council is appealing for people who could offer a safe and loving home to a young person to consider fostering.

Foster families give children who cannot live with their birth family the care and stability they need. There are more than 600 Derby children in care and the Council’s Fostering team is committed to ensuring as many young people as possible are found homes in the city.

It’s an opportunity to make a real difference to children who have had a difficult start in life. Foster carers can be any religion, sexuality, marital status, cultural background; a homeowner or renter. As long as you are over 21, have the time, space, energy to care for a child, and are local to Derby city, becoming a foster carer could be something for you.

During Foster Care Fortnight (15 to 28 May), some of Derby’s foster carers have shared their experiences to encourage anyone who is interested in fostering to come forward.

Graham and Sarah Pyman have been fostering with Derby City Council for eight years. The couple have four children of their own and have fostered around 20 children. Graham, who is the senior leader of Derby’s Jubilee Church, said:

When our children had started school, we thought fostering would be a good fit for us. We mostly foster children under two and have looked after around 20 children, some for a few weeks, some for more than two years.

It’s a great opportunity to make a real difference to a young person’s life.

Veteran foster carer Linda Spence has provided a home for more than 50 children over the past 18 years. She said:

I started because I wanted to give something back to Derby children. I love having children around. The shortest time I have had a child is one night, the longest is ten years.

If I could have my life over again and have any job, I would do the same again. I absolutely love it. To anyone who is thinking of fostering, I would say, ‘Just go for it!’

Single parent Kirstie started fostering in 2020, while on furlough. She said:

When I first applied to foster, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it because I didn’t have a spare bedroom. But I’m able to foster babies up to two years old because they can sleep in my bedroom.

I love children and it’s a great thing to give a child in need a home and show them they are loved and cared for. I’ve fostered five babies so far. My daughter, who is eight, also loves to help.

The Council recently held its first ever Fostering Festival to celebrate Derby’s fostering community and thank carers for their dedication. More than 200 people attended the event, which featured a range of activities, food and entertainment provided by local businesses.

Suanne Lim, Director of Early Help and Children's Social Care at Derby City Council said:

The day was a great success and it was such an important event to thank our foster carers for their outstanding contribution to support the lives of Derby’s most vulnerable children.

Foster carers come from all walks of life but the one thing they have in common is their passion and commitment to provide children and young people with loving homes where they are supported and encouraged to reach their potential in all aspects of their lives.

Keeping siblings together is a huge priority for us and also that our children are able to remain as local as possible to their school and friends. We urgently need more foster carers to ensure we can do this.

We understand that full time fostering may not be suitable for everybody. We therefore have several different types of fostering to suit any lifestyle. You can find out more on the Council website.

There will be a fostering information event at the Council House on Tuesday 23 May from 6pm until 8pm. If you would like to attend you can book a place online.
Our team would be happy to talk to you if you would like to make an enquiry. Please call us on 01332 640880 or use our online fostering enquiry form to get in touch.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Fostering Festival: SmartParc, Jubilee Church, Marlene and Ian Upchurch, Morrisons, Theresa Peltier (High Sheriff of Derby and Derbyshire), Bridge the Gap, Emotions Toolkit, Mantis Martial Arts, the School Nurse team, the Library Service, Catharsis, Plus One and Baby People, Derby County Community Trust, Amber Valley Sports Partnership, Hubbub Theatre, Cycle Derby, Springfield Primary School, West Park School, Community Alliance, 63rd Darley Abbey Scouts, Richard Ralph Fostering Network, Noreen Reece, Abdul Hafiz, Emma's Whippy, plus all the businesses that donated refreshments, craft materials and raffle prizes.  

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