The pandemic has shown people at their best, proving that our inherent instinct to help and provide will rise to any situation.
Outside of the awful situation with the virus, some of Shropshire's most vulnerable people remain a number of its children, and it is these young individuals right on our doorstep, that you may be able to help through fostering.
Shropshire Fostering, the fostering service at Shropshire Council has made a commitment to children across the county – from Wem to Craven Arms – by helping potential foster parents find out everything they need to know through its Virtual Fostering Information Events.
Designed to allow prospective carers to access a wealth of information from their own homes, the Virtual Fostering Information Events are available to download and view at any time, and are a private experience that do not involve any kind of online public meeting. They do not commit you to anything, and are purely a useful touchstone that can begin to answer many of the questions people may have about fostering, including who is eligible, what the different types of fostering are, and what sort of financial support is available.
"Potentially, anyone over the age of 21 can foster providing they are able to give a child a secure and caring home," said a spokesperson.
"You don’t need to be rich. You don’t need to be working. You don’t need to have children of your own. You can be married, single or in a same sex relationship.
"There are, obviously, certain criteria – for example, you will need to have a spare room and be able to offer consistent care for children under five, but all of this will be explored with you."
At present, there are more than 400 looked after children in Shropshire, and more right here who could be in need of a home.
"We need foster carers for children of all ages," said the spokesperson. "There are toddlers to teenagers. There are children with specific learning or development needs. There are brothers and sisters who need to stay together. There are also occasionally young mothers who need a little extra support before they make their own way in life.
"Many will have experienced domestic crises, perhaps violence, abuse, illness, neglect, alcohol or drug addiction. Most will be feeling bewildered and upset about moving in with strangers.
"It’s a foster carer’s responsibility to bring stability and continuity to these children’s lives while the difficulties are being sorted out. The secret is simply to offer what every child and young person wants and needs – family life, friends, love and respect."
Those who are interested in learning more can access a Virtual Fostering Information Event by completing the online form at https://www.shropshirefostering.co.uk/enquire-about-fostering-and-register-for-a-virtual-information-event/
"The link will also have the form attached that we will ask you to complete to start your fostering journey, should you wish to do so," the spokesperson added.
For more general information on fostering in Shropshire, visit www.shropshirefostering.co.uk or call 0800 783 8798.