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Client services manager turned foster mum, encourages others to consider fostering this New Year

A woman from Wiltshire is urging others to consider a career in fostering as the pandemic results in scores of people across the UK looking for a career change.

With over 35% of people feeling unsatisfied in their current jobs [1], and 20% of people planning to switch to a career that helps others [2], a foster mum from Salisbury is calling on people across Wiltshire to consider a rewarding career in fostering as the number of children and young people needing a safe place to live continues to rise.

Lu, left her full-time job as a client services manager at a local law firm to become a full-time foster carer. Lu was initially introduced to the idea of fostering when she was a young child as her godmother was a foster carer. Growing up with three foster children who became close to Lu’s family, fostering was something Lu always wanted to pursue later in life.

Lu and her husband, Jason, who works in international defence, started their fostering journey after completing their training in October 2020 with Five Rivers Child Care – an independent fostering provider and social enterprise – which is headquartered in Salisbury and has foster carers across Wiltshire. The couple have two teenage children of their own.

Sharing her motivations to change career and leave her position as client services manager to become a foster carer full-time, Lu said: “Before I joined the legal firm, I worked in education for over 12 years. I initially went into education because I loved being around children and young people. I loved being a teaching assistant, but as time went on, I felt like I needed a change and wanted to try something new, so in 2019 I started working in a law firm, an environment very different to the classroom.

“Initially the job was a big shock to the system, but I soon enjoyed the lifestyle and felt my energy levels return. Fast forward a few months and I was furloughed like so many people across the UK due to the first coronavirus lockdown.

“It was at that time when I spoke to one of my friends who was a social worker, and it was her who reminded me that I had always talked about fostering but never felt that it was the right time. Without a secure job, I felt motivated to go back to a position where I could help youngsters and spend more time at home with my own children. I thought perhaps it was my time to take the plunge and apply to become a foster carer. Next thing I knew, we were approved, and we began our training.”

The couple, who are parents to 16-year-old George and 18-year-old Ellie, currently have a young girl in their care, Alice* on a long-term basis, meaning she will stay with the family until she is over the age of 18 and feels ready to live independently.

Speaking about Alice’s* time with the family so far, Lu said: “Alice* has instantly clicked with our family and is especially close with George and Ellie despite both of them being much older than her. The three of them play different sports together.

“As a family, we are really into rugby and my son plays regularly, but when Alice* told us she was an avid footballer and tennis player, it was important to us that we supported her different interests by taking her to lessons and training. And although she still plays football, she’s recently taken a liking to rugby after watching many of George’s matches and has just joined a local team. Although this may seem like just a little thing, it’s really rewarding to see Alice* grow through sport and pick up new hobbies.”

As well as being a fulfilling career, fostering offers stability and flexibility – something Lu wasn’t used to in her previous role at the law firm. Talking about this, she said: “In all of my years of working, I never had the opportunity of flexible working and spent a good chunk of my life trying to squeeze important things in at the end of the day when I was shattered. Now, I’m home so much more and can have more quality time with my family which now includes Alice*. I can support my son with his rugby ambitions and schoolwork without being exhausted, I can be there for my daughter when she’s trying to balance work and full-time study, and I can spend more time with Jason – all of which didn’t feel possible at the time, let alone Alice* changing our lives and putting our focus back on being a family.”

Offering advice to anyone who is looking to change careers to something more rewarding and fulfilling, Lu said: “I would encourage anyone to think about fostering if you feel like you have a hole in your life that needs filling. Fostering can be challenging at times, but the rewarding moments and changing the life of a child completely outweigh this. Alice* has brought a new sense of life to our family and in our home and I’d love to continue fostering for as long as we can.”

The number of children needing foster care in the UK has risen by 36% in the last year [3]. With more children and young people in need of a loving and safe home, fostering can provide the flexibility, which people are valuing more. It’s a vocation that can be done from home and is suitable for singletons, couples, and families alike.

Commenting on Lu’s journey as a foster carer, Kate Ennis, Service Manager for Wiltshire at Five Rivers Child Care, said: “Lu has been on quite the journey herself in the last few years and it’s been so nice to see her come into something that she is really made for. You can tell right away Lu and her family are extremely tight-knit, and Alice* has brought them even closer.

“The pandemic has changed how people want to live their lives and has reminded us that life is too short to not do something you love. And with more people inspired by the pandemic, there is a renewed sense of life to help others and to be in a job that feels rewarding.

“We offer 24/7 support from qualified and experienced staff and a wide range of specialist training.

“There is no need for previous experience, but we are keen to hear from people who are nurturing, compassionate, and enjoy supporting others, as well as anyone who has questions about fostering and the variety of roles available.”

People from across England, from all backgrounds and communities, can be considered to become foster carers but they must be over 21 years of age. This includes single people, co-habiting couples, LGBTQ+ couples, and people living in rented accommodation. You will need a spare room for each foster child.

You can find out more about fostering with Five Rivers Child Care by attending a virtual event. Visit: to see all upcoming dates and book a place. The next virtual events will take place over Zoom on Wednesday, 19 January at 7pm and Wednesday, 26 January at 11am.






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