A DEVOTED foster couple are urging more people to open their homes to children in need, in support of the council’s latest initiative.

Jenny and Tim Townsend, 54 and 60, from Feering, want to see more couples like them, or homeowners with empty rooms, making a difference to a child’s life by becoming foster parents.

The impassioned appeal comes in support of Essex County Council’s recent campaign to unearth 100 new foster carers, due to a rising number of children needing places to live and be cared for.

Jenny, a primary school teacher who hopes to become a full-time foster carer this summer, and Tim, currently look after a pre-school boy who they welcomed into their home earlier this year.

Jenny said: “This little boy has been a delight and a lovely lad to have as a first placement.

“The process to get to this stage was a very thorough procedure, but it has to be, although it was a lot less stressful than I was expecting.

“There is every chance that this little boy will go back to his mother, and that will be upsetting for us, but when this boy leaves, we will know we have done our very best for him.”

The council’s life-changing campaign was launched during Foster Care Fortnight - a two-week collection of awareness events spearheaded by UK charity the Fostering Network.

It saw couples likes Jenny and Tim, including the pair themselves, offer advice and information to older couples and single parents looking to explore the possibility of fostering.

Corrie Castleman, fostering team manager at Essex County Council, said: “Older foster parents have a wealth of experience and time to offer.

You are never too old to be a foster carer, we have people foster into their seventies.

“Vulnerable children desperately need you.”

There are 750 children in foster care in Essex, which has been increasing over the past two years, and the rate at which children are leaving care has also slowed down.

To find out about more about how you could foster a child call 0800 801 530 or visit essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/fostering.