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Foster children march against cancer

A group of Five Rivers foster children from Gloucester have organised a charity fundraising walk in a bid to give something back to the community which has supported them through the times when they were feeling most vulnerable.

The Gloucester Young Persons’ Group, is an organisation we set up to give young people in care a voice to influence changes in the fostering service. Walking in aid of Cancer Research, the group has set a fundraising target of £200 and will tackle the ‘Almost 10 mile walk’ on Monday 23rd October.

More than 15 young people aged between 11 and 17 are taking part in the charity walk, which they organised themselves during a quarterly meeting of the Gloucester Young Persons’ Group. Each member of the Group nominated a charity which they felt would be a worthy cause to support, before voting on the selection.

Cancer Research was chosen almost unanimously by the Group as the charity to support, with many of the young people voting having been affected by cancer in various contexts.

Meeting once every three months at the Gloucester Deaf Association in Barnwood, the Group engages in discussion around the practice, policies, and procedures of Five Rivers’ fostering service. Young people play an active role in helping Five Rivers adapt and improve its service to best meet the needs of young people in care. The Young Persons’ Group initiative is implemented across the nation, and has seen young people take up extra-curricular training in a variety of fields, enhancing their life skills and aiding the transition between foster care and independent adult life.

The Group’s ‘Almost 10 mile walk’ will run along the canal from Frampton-on-Severn to Gloucester Quays on Monday.

Johan Strydom, fostering service manager for Five Rivers in the south west, said: “The Young Persons’ Group has a really positive influence on the lives of looked after young people in Gloucester. It gives us a chance to discuss their thoughts on the fostering service, and begin to implement any changes that might help the service support them in the most effective way possible.

“The ‘Almost 10 mile walk’ is just one example of the activities our young people get involved in to help benefit others. Many of the young people we work with have come from vulnerable positions, but found support through foster care. Through these activities, many have felt like they are giving something back to that community.”

There is currently a shortfall of 480 foster families in the south west of England, and Five Rivers is actively recruiting for foster carers.* Single people, co-habiting couples, same sex couples, those living with a disability, and people living in rented accommodation from all backgrounds and ethnic minorities are all eligible to become foster carers. Applicants to Five Rivers Child Care receive extensive training and ongoing support to ensure they can feel confident to look after children placed in their care.

A career in foster care offers many benefits including competitive rates of pay and flexible working. For more information about fostering contact Five Rivers on 0345 266 0272 / or visit

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