What our carers say
Our carers come from all walks of life but the one thing they have in common is the love and support they provide to some of our most vulnerable children and young people.
Sarah Prebble Powley
Sarah Prebble Powley, who currently fosters three children made the decision to become a foster carer of teenagers and sibling groups five years ago with her husband. Sarah used to be a finance director but decided to change her career.
Driven by their faith, the 48-year-old and Ian, 49 were personally moved by the number of children in Hounslow who needed homes and felt they couldn’t expect others to step-up if they weren’t willing to do it themselves. Having chosen to foster instead of having their own children, the couple have over the five years taken in teenagers and sibling groups.
“We had a home, space, energy and wanted to help,” says Sarah who says she hasn’t looked back since starting her fostering journey. She says the experience hasn’t always been easy, but the rewards of fostering far outweigh the challenges.
“Watching a child enjoy the simplicity of life, like climbing a mountain, learning a new skill, or riding a bike for the first time, is incredible. It’s lovely to see them grow in confidence and engage in family life.”
All her foster children enjoy football. And although home life can be hectic, Sarah and Ian love taking them to football matches and cheering them on. They also enjoy supporting them to flourish at school and study for major exams like their GCSEs which, they hope, will give them the future opportunities they deserve.
The couple will continue to foster for as long as they are able to. She added: “Once you start fostering, you can't imagine stopping and not helping more children". Our church, our neighbours and our friends have all supported us and the children in so many ways.
“Don’t be put off because you don’t have children or think you haven’t got the skills. As long as you can offer a stable, loving home and a spare room, then I would recommend it.”
Paul and David
Paul and his partner David have been fostering for nearly five years. They decided to foster because they wanted to make a difference to a child’s life and haven’t looked back since.
“We have learnt so much from fostering. Our foster children bring so much joy and energy into our lives. We put it off for a couple of years and I wish we hadn’t. If you are thinking of fostering, I would say go for it.
“Although fostering has its challenges, we don’t regret doing it. We’ve kept in touch with foster children who lived with us over the years and it’s great to see them growing up and becoming more confident.”
Paul says one of thing enjoys about fostering is supporting a child to do something for the first time. He added: “I recently taught one of my foster children to ride a bike. He didn’t think he could do it and was so nervous. But now we can’t get him off the bike, it’s amazing!
“We also took one of our foster children on holiday and he went on a plane for the first time – I’ll never forget his happy face as we took off!”
Paul said when they first started fostering, they were concerned that a foster child might view a same sex couple negatively. He said: “We were concerned in case the foster children had any issues, but there weren’t any. We’ve talked to them about it and they have all been absolutely fine.” Paul and David said they have received excellent support from Hounslow Council: “The two social workers we have had have been fantastic. If we are having a challenging day, we know we can ring them and talk it through, which makes the world of difference. We also appreciate the free merlin and swimming passes. It’s a great opportunity for us to spend time together as a family.”
Paul and David have also completed their NVQ in fostering, which they found invaluable.
Hounslow resident, Sarah Holmes, decided to be a foster carer with her partner Paul, also 43, after growing up with foster children who were part of her family.
The 43-year-old said: “Fostering to me feels natural.
“I’ve grown up in a busy, loving home, with foster children and my own siblings.
“My parents always fostered children and we all got on really well and there were never any issues.
“It grounded me as a child and gave me a sense of perspective about life, which is something I wanted my own children to understand.”
Sarah is an experienced foster carer for babies up until the age of two.
As a short-term carer she has had placements that have lasted up to 11months.
She is really pleased with the support she has received from Hounslow Council and would reassure families with their own children, who are considering fostering, to go for it.
She said: “I have three children and my youngest daughter, who is five, has never known any different.
“She is used to having foster children in the house and gets so much out of it.
“My two sons, who are older, like to help out and are proud to be making a difference to another child’s life.
“Our foster children are very much part of our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Sarah said the process for fostering was really straight forward.
She recommends anyone considering fostering to attend the fostering information sessions, run by Hounslow Council, to find out more.
Hina Mistry has fostered 80 children over 13 years. In addition to having short-term foster placements, she is also on-call for emergency support.
When Hina was younger she used to be a childminder. She has always had a passion for fostering but unfortunately didn’t have the space. When she purchased her house, she decided to apply.
Hina said: “Fostering is an opportunity to really make a positive difference to someone’s life. Being a foster carer also enables me to work with adopters and parents.
“I have had such lovely feedback from the children I have fostered; one teenager told me I had taught her how to love – when you hear something like that, it is an amazing feeling.
“I am currently fostering a baby and she brings me so much joy. Watching her develop, make eye contact and laugh at me, is incredible.”
Hina said she has learnt so much from fostering children of all ages and enjoys finding out about their life and culture.
She added: “The children I have fostered have been through so much in their lives, it is hard to hear their experiences and serves as a wakeup call. There are so many children who need help.
“But the relationship isn’t one way. Being a foster carer has helped me develop and change as a person over the years. I have become more kind, patient and loving.”
It takes just minutes to find out if you’d be a suitable foster carer.
Call 020 8583 3426 for a friendly chat about fostering or fill in our online form below to register your interest and one of the team will contact you.