Foster carers in Somerset are playing a vital role supporting children and young people from across the globe who have been forced to leave their families for safety.
Somerset has a long history of welcoming people who have had to flee their homes due to fear of violence or persecution. Anyone who finds themselves placed in Somerset will be supported by Somerset Council working alongside a range of charities and partner organisations.
This includes unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) who have had no choice but to leave their families and seek safety in a new country.
During Refugee Week, Somerset Council is sharing stories of support provided by local people, like foster carer Glyn who has provided a supportive home for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children for over 6 years. He said:
“We foster because we know there is a huge need out there for carers to look after children who may have suffered abuse, or whose family life has broken down. Children in dreadful situations as well as unaccompanied asylum seekers.
“It’s a priority to ensure that they can communicate and learn the language. Then it’s about getting them into a school or college, teaching them how to use technology, sorting out food, making sure they can find their way around. What’s very important to me is that they are able to network with each other in their cultural groups because their culture has to be highly respected.
“There are countless rewards for being a UASC foster carer. For us, it’s the privilege of carrying on caring for children in ways their own families would have cared for them before they got displaced and needed to flee for their safety.”
Somerset Council is appealing for more foster carers, including those who can look after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. To find out how you could change a child’s story, visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 587 9900.
There are other ways you can get involved to support displaced people in Somerset – from volunteering just a few hours of your time, becoming a host as part of Somerset Council’s Homes for Ukraine initiative, to becoming a landlord if you able to offer a suitable property for private rent. Find out more about how you can help by visiting Support refugee settlement in Somerset and how you can help.