A West Sussex foster couple are on a mission to inspire others to foster a child, describing it as the ‘best decision of our lives.’
Holly and Gary Kellaway, from Lidsey, near Bognor have been fostering with West Sussex County Council for 18 months. They began by fostering a young boy and now also care for a baby.
They’re encouraging others to consider joining them as carers. The first step is as simple as getting in contact with the fostering team for a chat.
Gary said: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’ve got Holly to thank because my wife was the driving force behind it, it was her ambition. I didn’t know if I’d be a good parent but I feel like it’s made me a better person, it’s been life-changing for us in so many ways.”
Holly runs a childcare business and Gary runs his own fitness business. Speaking to the Council’s fostering team, they realised they could make fostering work for them.
Holly said: “It’s made our home life more enjoyable having the children here because we’re making it fun for them and in turn it’s making it fun for us. They’re both full of energy, always happy, smiling. They love each other which is amazing, they’re just a joy to be around.”
Gary said: “The boys have become central to our family. Those special moments when they grab your hand or smile at you, it makes you feel ten feet tall.”
Foster Care Fortnight
The couple are sharing their story for Foster Care Fortnight from 9 to 22 May 2022, a national celebration of foster carers. This year’s theme is #FosteringCommunities and Holly and Gary say being part of the Council’s big foster family provides them with all of the training and support they need.
Gary said: “The courses, blended with the professionals and the foster care community, that all culminates in this great big bubble of support. If you have even just a small percentage of motivation to foster right now, enquire, because for me it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done, so it may be for you too.”
West Sussex needs more foster families to care for vulnerable children. Anyone considering whether it’s right for them can contact the Council’s fostering team for an informal chat.
New foster carers are paired with experienced ‘buddy’ carers and every carer receives full training, ongoing support and a competitive allowance that increases with experience.
Jacquie Russell, West Sussex County Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are so lucky to have foster carers like Gary and Holly who have found space in their homes and their hearts to give children a safe and loving home. We are so grateful to every one of our carers but the reality is that we urgently need more in West Sussex.”
Foster with West Sussex County Council
• Call our friendly fostering team on 033 022 27775
• Visit westsussex.gov.uk/fostering to contact the team online
• Book your place at our next online fostering information evening, 7pm, Thursday 26 May