Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Key Sports Organisations Support HSC NI Foster Care to Recruit Foster Carers

4th March 2024

There are 3,155 children and young people currently living in foster care in NI – around the same number that would fill all the seats in the West Stand at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. L-R: Richard Honeyford (NI Sports Forum), Brian McEvoy (Ulster GAA), Eimear Hanna (HSC NI Foster Care) and Patrick Nelson (IFA)

The IFA, Ulster GAA and NI Sports Forum continue to lend their support to HSC NI Foster Care by encouraging their members and supporters to consider fostering and to give children a brighter future. Sport is at the core of every community across Northern Ireland and in every community there are children and young people who are reliant on foster care.

Both Sports and HSC NI Foster Care share common interests in that they seek to promote the wellbeing and development of children and young people to optimise their potential and life opportunities. The importance of families, a sense of community, and teamwork also feature heavily in their ethos.

Every child and young person deserves to live in a stable and nurturing home. There are many reasons for the creation of instability within a family which results in children and young people needing to be cared for by foster carers. A lack of foster carers means it is not always possible for a child or young person to be cared for by a foster family who lives in the same geographical area, which would ensure they can continue to see friends and attend their sports/youth clubs or hobbies. Some children also have to travel longer distances to school.

To lessen the disruption in a child/young person’s life HSC NI Foster Care needs additional foster families across Northern Ireland and greatly appreciates the support of sporting organisations to help them achieve this goal.

Eimear Hanna, HSC NI Foster Care said: “We are so grateful to all our foster carers who provide safe and loving homes, and go above and beyond every day for the children and young people they care for. We’re delighted that the key sporting organisations have committed to championing the need for recruiting more foster carers and helping us spread the word about fostering to all communities in Northern Ireland. We want children to remain within their own local communities, where possible, so we really need more people from diverse backgrounds to come forward and open their homes and hearts to children and young people in need. There are different ways you can help as not all foster care requires a full-time commitment.”

Thomas Gray is a former Irish league footballer, current football coach and a foster carer to a 9 year old child who also loves football. He said: “There’s a great need for foster carers and there are lots of people out there who have the ability and have everything they need to have to help children…All you need to do is come forward, talk to someone, they’ll help you the whole way, you’ll never be on your own.”

You can foster whether you are married, a couple or are single, you own or rent your home, you work or are unemployed, or whether you are a parent or not. HSC NI foster carers receive 24/7 support, a wide range of training, ongoing development opportunities, financial allowances, as well as paid membership of The Fostering Network and access to family activities and support groups.

Virtual Fostering Information Event
Event: Face-to-face fostering information event
Date: Tuesday 12 March 2024
Time: 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Location: Pat Jennings Lounge, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Donegall Ave, Belfast, BT12 6LU

No registration is required and is open to anyone across NI who is interested in hearing more about becoming a foster carer. Everyone welcome.