Do you live in Bedfordshire?
Interested in foster caring?
We provide comprehensive information about foster care and help you to reduce the risk of you choosing the wrong fostering agency.
The children and young people who need to be cared for in Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas, come from diverse backgrounds, all different ages, sibling groups, emergency placements, long term placements, but they all have one thing in common. They need to be cared for by sensitive, nurturing and understanding adults who can provide them with a positive experience of family life.
Bedfordshire Foster Carer Recruitment Drive
Simply Fostering has been tasked by a number of its member agencies to engage its foster carer SEO internet based recruitment tools in Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas. Bedford Borough Council, whose main town is Bedford, being the county capital town has facilitated the tendering process which recently concluded with a number of Simply Fostering member fostering agencies winning a place within the contract.
Central Bedfordshire is a another unitary authority included within the tender, which includes some large towns central to recruitment and they include Ampthill, Biggleswade, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard all areas Simply Fostering are keen to identify possible foster carer applicants.
Foster carers from surrounding areas will also be considered, such as Milton Keynes which borders Bedfordshire.
Bedfordshire Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Local Authorities will all consider foster carer placements in Milton Keynes, depending on the specific needs of the children that need to be placed with foster carers.
Factors to consider before deciding to foster
Before deciding to become a foster carer there are a few things that should be considered. Along with the training and support provided by the foster agencies, you should also check if you have a personal support system with friends and family that can support you going under stressful situations as all foster children are not the same and as a foster carer, you may have to tackle difficult situations.
According to your family and personal circumstances the age group of foster kids needs to be considered. Needs of children vary based on their age and understanding which is why you should be prepared to be flexible. Flexibility to work with social workers is important as they visit on a regular basis. Foster carers need to be comfortable communicating with biological parents of the foster child, as that might be a part of job.
A Bedfordshire foster carer’s story
I have always been interested in fostering a child. It really upset me that some children must grow-up in really difficult circumstances, through no fault of their own. But I never seriously considered it until my own children moved out to university. The house was feeling a bit empty and I thought if there ever was a good time to do something for those children, it must be now!
However, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to afford to become a foster carer. I had been working full-time in Flitwick in Bedfordshire and I needed that income to help pay the mortgage. So, I thought about fostering for a little while, but then I gave it up again because I just thought I didn’t have the time!
I was disappointed. But at the time I didn’t think I had any other option. So, I carried on doing this mind-numbing retail job for a while, just getting by really. A few months later I read this really inspiring blog post, about a woman who had given up her job as a stockbroker to become a foster carer. The post was about how more and more people are giving up their uninspiring careers to do something more worthwhile with their lives and they can make a real career in fostering.
That’s where it all started really. I was put into contact with a great fostering agency in Bedfordshire and I just began asking all the questions I had never asked before. How do I apply? Which children can I care for? How much would I earn? How soon can I start?
I must admit I was a bit daunted by the application process because I haven’t taken any tests since my O-Levels! But it was a breeze. There were no tests, just a foster carer assessment which, was very informal and relaxed with a social worker from Luton called Sue.
And that was it! It took a few months to be approved but soon after that, we had our first child!
Caring for John who was sixteen and from Bedford was a fantastic experience, but it was really hard to say goodbye when the placement was over. But it was so rewarding to have felt like I had really made a difference in his life and that all the parenting skills I had learnt to raise my own children weren’t being wasted. I was able to quit my job and since then I have never looked back.
My fostering agency in Bedfordshire provides an allowance of £400.00 per week to cover the costs of caring for a child on a day-to-day basis. Choosing to become a foster carer was probably the most life-changing and rewarding decisions I have ever made. I feel really grateful to have had the support of my family and friends, without their encouragement I would never have taken this step.
If you have ever considered fostering, don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you can. I had assumed I wouldn’t be able to afford to be a foster carer, without knowing that it is now a legitimate, paid career option. It took a blog post to change that, so if this post can inspire somebody else into fostering I will be so happy!
A Foster Carer from Bedfordshire.
Bedfordshire Population and Demography
The area is quite a challenging area to recruit foster carers, for both the Local Authority and Independent Fostering Agencies as it is semi-rural in areas and the population is not that large. Below are some statistics, which reinforce the changes of recruiting potential foster carer applicants in Bedfordshire.
Current population of Central Bedfordshire: 269,100 (2014). Central Bedfordshire is the 15th largest unitary council in England by population size. (Source: Office for National Statistics, 2014 Mid Year Estimate. Next update: July 2016)
Area of Central Bedfordshire: 716 square kilometres. Central Bedfordshire is the 11th largest unitary council in England by area. (Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census, Table KS101EW, Usual resident population)
Population density: 376 people per square kilometre in 2014. Central Bedfordshire is one of the least densely populated unitary councils, ranking 41st out of 56. Rural / urban classification: Central Bedfordshire is classified as ‘largely rural’, with 58% of residents living in rural areas. This includes ‘hub towns’, which are towns with populations of 10,000 to 30,000 that play an important role in providing services, employment and businesses to the rural areas around them. (Source: Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 2011 Rural-Urban Classification of Local Authority Districts)
Population of the largest towns
Houghton Regis 18,180
(Source: Office for National Statistics, Mid-2014 population estimates for 2014 wards in England and Wales by single year of age and sex (experimental). Next update: January 2017)
Simply Fostering Application Service.
Our aim is encourage people to consider fostering, to reduce the confusion and from the information you provide in our contact form, one of our social work experts will match you and your situation with the most suitable fostering agencies in Bedfordshire, on our UK Agency Database.
Different types of fostering.
Just like people, Fostering Agencies are not all the same. They have different support, allowances, quality of training, and access to respite care and support groups.
Foster babies, allowance, pay, vacancies.
Not all agencies foster babies, some prefer to look after teenagers, some agencies expect you to be at home full time, others are happy if you have another job.
Want to foster? Let’s get together.
Simply Fostering would like to hear from anyone who would like to consider fostering in Bedfordshire. We welcome applications from all cultures, heterosexual couples, same sex couples, single applicants, straight, gay, young applicants and older applicants. What is important is that you have a spare bedroom available, the motivation and desire to care for a young person on a full time basis.
Training , support and a professional allowance of up to £550 per week per child are being paid to foster carers in Bedfordshire.
To find out more and to take the next step towards a career as a foster carer, use our no obligation, free agency matching service by completing our online enquiry form, and get fostering right first time!
Did you know? Bedfordshire Facts
The town of Bedford is about 1000 years old and the English tradition of afternoon tea was invented by the Duchess of Bedford. Bedford holds the Bedford River Festival which is the second largest outdoor event in Britain and in 1874 Britain’s first hot-air balloon landed at Cardington airship field.
During the second world war, the BBC music and religious departments relocated from London to Bedford so many famous performers as well as Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby and Humphrey Bogart worked in Bedford. The Philharmonia Orchestra has one of it’s three bases in Bedford and regular concerts are held in the town and the Bedford Cardington Film Studios make many Hollywood films in Bedford!
The Duchess of Bedford invented the tradition of afternoon tea. Every two years the Bedford River Festival is held on the riverside, which is one of the most beautiful in England. It’s the second largest outdoor event in Britain.
John Bunyan, who wrote the ‘Pilgrims Progress’ was from Bedford. It was considered as one of the most important works of English literature.
Bedford has one of the largest Italian communities outside of Italy. Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor spent his early childhood years in Bedford. He went on to discover wireless telegraphy and invented the radio. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909.
BBC music moved to Bedford during the war as London was too dangerous and many international musicians, including Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, and Humphrey Bogart visited.
The town of Leighton Buzzard is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Lestone, in 1086. People have lived and worked here since Saxon times.
The early 1800’s saw the arrival of the Railway and the Canal which helped to establish the town further. This saw an increase in the population, commerce and industry.
The sand quarries in Leighton Buzzard have featured in movie locations such as the Da Vinci Code and The Mummy Returns. The sand is exported all over the world, even to the Middle East.
Some famous people who come from Leighton Buzzard are Mary Norton, author of The Borrowers. Olympic champion, Kris Akabusi. Alistair Cooke, England cricketer, former boxing champion Frank Bruno and TV presenter Bob Monkhouse
Music group the Baron Knights are from the town and the 1980’s pop band Kajagoogoo.
Biggleswade in a market town situated on the River Ivel in Bedfordshire.
The world’s first tractor was invented in Biggleswade by Daniel Albone in 1901.
A gold Anglo-Saxon coin was found at Biggleswade in 2001, near to the river Ivel. It is only the eighth known coin found to date from this period. It was bought by the British Museum in 2006 for £357,832, which makes it the most expensive British coin purchased at the time.
The cereal company Jordan’s have their base in Biggleswade. Samuel Pepys mentioned the town twice in his diaries. Pepys stopped off in the town in 1661 to buy a pair of woollen stockings. The town is twinned with Erlensee in Germany.
A couple from Bedford who have fostered children for over 25 years were made MBE’s in 2013.
Bedford Needs More Foster Carers!