Singing star Gareth Gates: 'I know the real benefit that fostering can bring to children who can’t live with their own family'

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The Fostering Network is thrilled that award winning singer, and son of foster carers, Gareth Gates is supporting Foster Care Fortnight 2015. Gareth, a long-term supporter of the charity, is currently touring the UK.

I know the real benefit that fostering can bring to children who can’t live with their own family. It has always been a huge part of my family life, and I have been lucky enough to see many children grow into strong and independent young people. My parents have been fostering since I was a little boy, so as well as my three sisters, I have many more foster brothers and sisters.

While it wasn’t always easy, my parents provided love and stability to many less fortunate children and brought them into our family. I’d always want my family to give those children a chance if we had our time again. It's a huge decision and of course it isn't for everyone but it's incredibly rewarding. I know that it's not only changed the lives the kids who've spent some time in our family over the years but also mine and my sisters.

This Foster Care Fortnight we are also celebrating the role that the arts can play in the lives of all children, and especially those living with foster families. Gareth himself experienced this for himself as a child:

The arts provide an outlet for expression, and one I am thankful for... We focus very much on the academic education of young people in care, but we can’t forget their creative education. Speaking personally, music was an important outlet for me as a child with a stammer – I don’t know where I would be without it.

Within the secure family environment provided by foster carers, children should be free to express, and we should be willing to listen to what they have to say. There are so many gifts you can give to a child if you make a connection to fostering this Foster Care Fortnight.