A local fostering agency is taking part in a national campaign encouraging parents to consider fostering as a way of ‘feathering their empty nest’ when older children leave the family home.
Orange Grove Foster Care, which provides fostering services in West Sussex, are looking for people with a spare room to consider opening their home up to a foster child.
Bridgid McCaig, Orange Grove’s agency director, said: “Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university.
“Whilst it is not a clinical condition, research has shown that it can result in depression and a loss of purpose for parents.
“It can be a time when people reflect on their purpose in life and we want to make people aware of just how valuable they could be to a foster child.
“The beauty of parents at this stage of life is that they have so much experience to offer a child.”
Fostering is a professional and paid role and while carers are welcomed from all walks of life, those that have brought up their own children will have the experience and life skills that are sought after in foster carers.
One couple who decided to foster were Pauline and Derek Leeder, who explained how it’s changed their life: “We’d had six children of our own and seven years ago when the last one left I felt like I was made redundant.
“We got in touch with a friend who’d fostered and decided to go for it.
“It’s the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. Sometimes we feel a bit bad saying that, as we brought up six of our own children, but when you see how they change and get back their identity it’s just lovely.
“People ask if we plan to retire from fostering anytime soon and we tell them absolutely not!”
Orange Grove is an independent fostering agency.
The organisation currently takes care of over 400 children across the South East, Midlands, North West and Yorkshire.
To find out more about fostering with Orange Grove, call 0800 3698513 or visit www.orangegrovefostercare.co.uk.