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Wednesday 06 Mar 2024
Sports bodies support foster carers recruitment

The Irish FA, Ulster GAA and Northern Ireland Sports Forum are continuing to lend their support to HSC NI Foster Care by encouraging their members and supporters to consider fostering and give children a brighter future.

HSC NI Foster Care said it shares common interests with the sports bodies in that they seek to promote the wellbeing and development of children and young people to optimise their potential and life opportunities, while the importance of families, a sense of community and teamwork also feature heavily in their ethos.

It further said sport is at the core of every community across Northern Ireland and in every community there are children and young people who are reliant on foster care.

HSC NI Foster Care needs additional foster families here and is undertaking a recruitment drive.

The fostering organisation is hosting a face-to-face fostering information event in the Members’ Lounge in the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park next Tuesday (12 March) from 7pm to 8pm. No registration is required and the event is open to anyone across Northern Ireland who is interested in hearing more about becoming a foster carer.

It further explained there are many reasons for the creation of instability within a family which results in children and young people needing to be cared for by foster carers, and it insisted every child and young person deserves to live in a stable and nurturing home.

HSC NI Foster Care pointed out that a lack of foster carers means it is not always possible for a child or young person to be cared for by a foster family who lives in the same geographical area, which would ensure they can continue to see friends and attend their sports/youth clubs or hobbies. Some children also have to travel longer distances to school.

Eimear Hanna of HSC NI Foster Care said: “We are so grateful to all our foster carers who provide safe and loving homes and go above and beyond every day for the children and young people they care for.

“We’re delighted that key sporting organisations have committed to championing the need for recruiting more foster carers and helping us spread the word about fostering to all communities in Northern Ireland.

“We want children to remain within their own local communities, where possible, so we really need more people from diverse backgrounds to come forward and open their homes and hearts to children and young people in need. There are different ways you can help as not all foster care requires a full-time commitment.”

Thomas Gray, a former Irish League footballer who is currently a football coach and a foster carer to a nine-year-old child who also loves football, is supporting the latest recruitment drive.

He said: “There’s a great need for foster carers and there are lots of people out there who have the ability and have everything they need to have to help children. All you need to do is come forward, talk to someone, they’ll help you the whole way, you’ll never be on your own.”

You can foster whether you are married, a couple or are single, you own or rent your home, you work or are unemployed, or whether you are a parent or not.

HSC NI foster carers receive 24/7 support, a wide range of training, ongoing development opportunities, financial allowances, as well as paid membership of The Fostering Network and access to family activities and support groups.

Call HSC NI Foster Care on 0800 0720 137 or visit for more information.

Image: Helping to promote fostering are: (from left) Richard Honeyford (NI Sports Forum), Brian McEvoy (Ulster GAA), Eimear Hanna (HSC NI Foster Care) and Patrick Nelson (Irish FA).