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Short break carers urge others to Give a little time

posted 6 Mar 2010, 14:23 by myEdinburgh Admin
Make a BIG difference in the life of a child and their family in Edinburgh

Fiona Dowds is a single carer for Barnardo’s Fostering Edinburgh service and is urging people in Edinburgh to join them to ‘Be the BIG difference’ in the life of a child.

Fiona provides short breaks during the week, covers weekends and offers emergency cover to a number of different children with complex behavioural and challenging needs.

After supporting children for 18 years with Barnardo’s Scotland, Fiona is backing the national campaign, Share the Care Week, to recruit additional short break carers. Short breaks are the support service most commonly requested by families who foster children. They offer regular opportunities for foster carers to take a break from the demands of caring. At the same time the foster child enjoys spending time with a short break carer and enjoying different experiences and surroundings, as any other child would do.

Fiona said: “We desperately need more people to come forward as short break carers and look after a child, it could be for just a few hours a week depending on how much time they have to offer. It gives the foster carer a break, and it also gives the child a different outlook on life, and ‘me’ time.

“I would urge more people to take on this rewarding opportunity and become a short break carer to make a BIG difference to the lives of children.”

Ian, foster parent, said: “Andrew (foster child) enjoys spending time with Fiona he gets to do things that he doesn’t get to do in our family. Fiona is a single carer which means she gives him one-to-one attention, really good quality time. Andrew loves animals, unfortunately we can’t have a pet but Fiona has a cat and walks her sister’s dog. He loves walking in the woods and playing in streams with Fiona and the dog.”

Carol Douglas, Barnardo’s Scotland, Assistant Director for fostering and adoption in Scotland, said: “Being a short break carer can be such a rewarding experience with the carers enjoying the time they spend with the children. All kinds of people have become a carer with Barnardo’s Scotland.”

A recent national survey has identified that awareness of short breaks amongst the general public is low, with only 3 in 10 people knowing about the opportunity to become a short break carer in comparison to fostering where 8 in 10 people know about the opportunity to foster. Despite this low awareness a high number of people, 1 in 5, would consider giving a break if only they knew they could.

More short break carers are urgently needed to support foster families. Anyone who would like to find out more can call Barnardo’s Fostering on 0131 228 4121. To find out more about short breaks please visit