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Local couple making a difference in the community
Basingstoke couple, Stephen Presslee and Elyse Taylor are doing their bit to help tackle the shortage of 10,000 foster carers in the UK. Steve was looking for a new challenge and a more fulfilling career when he became a foster carer.
Since becoming a foster carer for Romsey-based foster agency Blue Sky Fostering in December 2010 Steve and Elyse have been fostering a local young person and they encourage others to do the same.
Steve enthuses "We knew that we could offer a great environment which would be safe and secure for a young person in need of help and reassurance. When I found Blue Sky Fostering on the internet I didn't hesitate to take that first step and make the call to them. I now have a fulfilling career and feel that we are making such a big difference to a young person's life who has had difficulties. We are able to offer her stability and some normality in her life.
There have been many challenges and frustrations along the way but we have found that the rewards in seeing someone grow and develop after so much hard work makes it all worthwhile. These children have had to deal with some really difficult situations so understandably they can be really angry or afraid when they arrive at your home. You need to be prepared for this and, with the support of Blue Sky, think of strategies to cope with this. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend fostering to anyone as long as you go in with your eyes open and the willingness to ask for support when you need it”
Blue Sky Fostering is currently looking for more foster carers in Basingstoke. Amanda Mills, from the Blue Sky team explains. "Anyone can become a foster carer from all backgrounds whether they are married, single or living with a partner. The young people are at the centre for everything we do so each potential foster carer must have a spare bedroom, patience, optimism and want to make a difference to a young person's life by providing a safe and caring environment in their home and including them in their family life."
In return for making this commitment to young people, Blue Sky foster carers receive a weekly allowance, ongoing training and support through one-to-one meetings, gatherings with other foster carers and 14 days paid holiday.
If you would like to make a difference to a young person's life in Basingstoke contact Blue Sky Fostering to find out if a career in fostering is for you. Blue Sky Fostering can be contacted on 01794 590003 or through www.blueskyfostering.com
Blue Sky Fostering was established in 2005 to address the need for more foster carers in the south of England including fostering in Bristol. Since then we have built a reputation as one of the top fostering agencies for excellence providing extensive training and support throughout the challenges of being a professional foster carer. Working together with our foster carers we believe we can help every child reach their full potential regardless of their previous life experiences.
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Based in Romsey, Hampshire, but operating across the south of England, Blue Sky Fostering supports over 90 foster carers, caring for over 100 children across the region. Blue Sky Fostering was rewarded an Outstanding rating by Ofsted in two consecutive reports in 2008 and 2011.