|Transform a child’s life – become a foster carer
The future looks bright for Ellis Kehoe as he looks forward to graduating from university and the arrival of his first child.
And the 21-year-old is backing Foster Care Fortnight’s theme that foster care can transform lives as he is living proof that a child’s life can be turned around with the support of a foster family.
For the budding sports therapist first found himself at the home of Ellen and Colin Gregory aged seven.
“I got there and was terrified and didn’t say a word to them,” said Ellis. “They tried to talk to me but I didn’t say a word. They had their grandchildren round who were in the garden so straight away they included me in what they were doing, I was a bit hesitant at first but they got me into it.
“As the months went on I got more and more comfortable with them, they took me on holiday and I was settling in with them. Months turned into years and I was coming on leaps and bounds.
“When I went into care I couldn’t read or write and within the first year I learnt to read and write and within two years became top of my class for reading.”
As he moved on to high school, with his foster carers support, Ellis went on to indulge in his passion for sport which saw him become a three time British champion wrestler and cup winning rugby player.
He added: “They’ve helped me build myself up. I wasn’t confident as to who I was and where I came from. I felt like this child that wasn’t wanted or needed, I didn’t have a place on the earth, they saw that and step-by-step they helped me to become confident and driven.”
His success saw him pick up the Care Leaver of the Year award last year. Ellis credits his foster family, who he now sees as his own family, as the catalyst for his development and giving him the foundations for an exciting future in sports therapy once he graduated from university.
James Winterbottom, director for children’s services at Wigan Council, added: “Ellis is a shining example of how fostering can transform a child’s life and with the right support can go on to become highly successful. Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity for anyone interested in finding out more about foster care to get in touch.
“Our foster carers are supported every step of the way and we have people like Ellis on hand to help prepare foster carers for what to expect along with a fantastic team who are here to guide you every step of the way on your road to becoming a foster carer.”
Foster Care Fortnight runs from 8th to 21st May and anyone interested in finding out more can attend information sessions on Thursday 11th May between 5pm and 7pm in the Derby Room at the Turnpike Centre in Leigh and on Thursday 18th May between 5pm and 7pm at Wigan Town Hall.
More about becoming a foster carer can also be found at www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering