Leeds City Council’s fostering team, Foster4Leeds welcomed a famous face at a children with disabilities celebration and development conference at Elland Road this week.
National TV awards winner, James Moore – who plays Ryan Stocks in Emmerdale, captivated the audience with stories of his journey to stardom in his inspirational speech. The actor has ataxic cerebral palsy, with his character on Emmerdale having the same disability.
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council executive member for children and families opened the event and welcomed 200 attendees, including current disability foster carers and social care professionals, to celebrate how rewarding fostering a child with disabilities can be.
Advocate for disabled children and young people Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children spoke about the need for a fully inclusive society where all children can achieve their ambitions.
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:
“We want to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in – along with being a child friendly, compassionate and inclusive city. This event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate some of our most inspirational young people and really highlight how rewarding fostering can be. Historically, our children with disabilities have been more difficult to place with foster carers, but we’re working really hard to change perceptions and demonstrate that children with disabilities have the same needs as any child – to feel safe, secure and loved.
“Leeds already has 88 incredible foster carers for children with disabilities, but in order to meet demand we need at least 100 households to open up their hearts and homes to some of our most vulnerable children. I would urge anybody who is interested in finding out more to contact Foster4Leeds – who knows, it could be that important first step to a rewarding new role.”
Young person Kirah Brackenbury spoke about her experiences in foster care and how she is now hoping to train to be a social worker to be able to help look after children in Leeds. Kirah appears on Foster4Leeds’ 100 Helping Hands video available on the Leeds City Council You Tube channel.