Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 16.21.09MAKE a Connection – and change a child’s life forever.

That’s the message in Foster Care Fortnight which runs across Teesside and the North East until Sunday, June 14.

The campaign highlights the invaluable work of foster carers who give children stability and security and in many cases their first positive experience of family life.

And it’s an appeal for new volunteers to join the network of fostering families and make a real and lasting difference to the lives of fostered children.

There are currently 4,400 foster carers in the North East – but there’s an urgent need for at least a further 450.

Here in Middlesbrough carers and staff have been getting creative to help spread the Make a Connection message.

They’ve been challenged to contribute to a colourful wall hanging consisting of individually made 4in x 4in patches to represent their connection to the wider fostering family.

Their knitted, crocheted, cross-stitched and fabric painted squares will be stitched together to create a unique tapestry which will go on display at mima when complete.

Also planned is an event at the new Middlesbrough Sports Village which will see foster carers, staff and children from the five Tees Valley local authority areas competing in sporting events

Councillor Mike Carr, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Social Care, said: “Foster carers across Middlesbrough and the wider Tees area help to transform lives by providing homes, stability and security for countless children.

“Foster Care Fortnight is an important opportunity to recognise the priceless contribution they make to so many young lives, and to encourage others to consider the huge rewards fostering has to offer.

“The wall hanging will be a striking visual symbol of that contribution, and of the connections that link all those involved in this priceless service.

“It also serves to underline the need for more foster carers, and I hope it will act as a catalyst in encouraging more people to come forward and see if they have the skills and aptitude to foster.”