Fans of hit soaps like Coronation Street and Emmerdale will be encouraged to become foster carers through a series of prime-time television commercials.
The 30-second adverts are part of a joint initiative between nine local councils in the East Midlands, including Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council.
The commercials use actors to depict how becoming a foster carer can make a huge difference to children’s lives – focusing on a family who care for a teenager.
Entitled ‘Space for a Child’, the campaign aims to use the power of television to help find homes for over 4000 children across the East Midlands.
As well as featuring between episodes of some of the nation’s most loved soaps, the commercials will be broadcast during the ad breaks of other big rating shows like Tipping Point and The Chase.
Video: One of the Space for a Child adverts
The adverts will also be adapted for radio and will be broadcast on stations Capital, Heart and Lincs FM.
Shirley Green from Gedling has been a foster carer for 14 years and currently has two long-term placements.
She has looked after children of different ages and backgrounds and finds the responsibility very rewarding.
I particularly enjoy family time together and going on holidays, which can really help to stabilise children who are not used to everyday family activities.
She added: “I’m still in contact with many of my foster children, including two who have now become mothers and have families of their own.
“Fostering allowed me to stay at home with my own son Miles who is 16 and has Down’s syndrome, so my family has also greatly benefited.”
Councillor Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Nottingham City Council, praised the collaborative effort in raising awareness to the need of more foster carers.
She said: “Councils are facing similar issues and are increasingly looking for creative ways to widen their pool of carers to give children the best start in life.
“This partnership approach has enabled councils across the region to consider TV advertising – a channel normally out of reach due to cost factors – to help raise awareness.”
In Nottingham alone there are around 490 children in need of foster care.
Partners Tom and Helen were approved to foster over seven years ago with Nottingham City Council.
We asked ourselves not why should we, but why wouldn’t we?
Tom and Helen
“Fostering teenagers is a challenge but is incredibly rewarding as you find ways of building trust, loving and seeing young people thrive,” they said.
“In the process as foster carers we have also grown, developed and learnt so much about ourselves and have built some amazing relationships along the way.”
Those interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at http://www.spaceforachild.com/ or by calling 0116 305 0505.