Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 14.47.59Three South Tyneside women are proving that caring runs in the family as they have all become foster carers.

Joyce Handy, 68, has fostered more than 100 young people since she first decided to become a foster carer almost 30 years ago. Now her two daughters are also following in her footsteps.

Daughter Claire Heslop, 37, said: “From being young, I always knew I would foster. I started to foster because of the positive experience I had living in a fostering environment.”

Emma was 13 and Claire was ten when their parents first became foster parents.

“We were excited when we started fostering,” said Emma. We got a real buzz out of children coming into our home.”

All three women are supporting the Fostering Fortnight campaign which runs until 24 May. Run by leading charity, the Fostering Network, the theme of this year’s campaign, is Time to Foster, Time to Care.

Emma said: “People tend to rule themselves out of fostering but all a child really needs is consistency and stability. The only thing that really matters is your ability to care for a child.”

Claire added: “The rewards are not always immediate in fostering but a lot of the children who are now grown up still keep in touch with us and it’s lovely to see the input we gave as a family still resonates with them. Seeing that as a family we have been able to make a difference  is wonderful.”

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “It is inspirational to see that fostering brings such huge rewards to our carers.

“Along with the fantastic training, fostering can really be a life-changing experience for both the young people in their care and the foster carers themselves.  I would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to come along to one of our regular information sessions on the last Thursday of every month.”

The next information session for people considering fostering with South Tyneside Council will be on Thursday, 26 May between 6pm and 8pm at 16 Barrington Street, South Shields, NE33 1AN.