This Preston couple have fostered hundreds of children from Lancashire since 1979.Advertisement
Now George and Jos Hindle are retiring from fostering having taken in 241 children to their home through the decades.
The Hindle’s have been presented with a special award by the fostering service for their dedication.
74-year-old George said: “We saw an advert in the paper asking if we had a spare room, our own children were growing up and Jos was working as a childminder at the time. We both loved being with children so we thought we’d give it a go. We never planned it, it just happened, but we enjoyed it so much we’ve carried on for all these years.”
Through their 37 years they’ve looked after all sorts of children in terms of ages and background.
Jos, 73, said: “We’ve looked after all age groups from babies to teenagers, for anything from a couple of days until they have grown up. We’ve even extended our family by adopting five children over the years, and we consider them all an equal part of our family.”
The two teenagers they are caring at the moment will be their last foster children. Both are at college, applying to go to university and there will be a home for them with the Hindles for as long as they need it.
George said: “At our time in life, it’s time to sit back and let someone else have a go. It will be nice to have more time to spend with our extended family, it’s always a full house and at family get togethers there can be 40 odd people there. Everyone really gets on well though and our sons have always been welcoming and happy to help out with their fostered and adopted siblings.”
When asked what they like about fostering, George said: “We are so proud of all the children we’ve looked after over the years and their achievements. Many are now doing great jobs and are bringing up their own families, it makes it all worthwhile to know we have helped them on their way.”
Jos added: “People think that children in care are all difficult, and obviously it has its challenges but we’ve found it’s no different than the normal issues you have with your own kids. They just need to know they are loved and feel safe.
Cabinet member for children, young people and schools county councillor Matthew Tomlinson said: “I’d like to personally congratulate George and Jos on their fantastic achievements and thank them for the tremendous commitment they have shown over the years. Not many people can say they have directly made a difference to the lives of so many children and theirs will be big shoes to fill.
“We are always looking for new foster carers as our experienced foster carers retire and more children come into care each week. We have an excellent package of support to help foster carers in their role, including a competitive allowance, flexible training, a dedicated social worker and out of hours support.
“‘Super’ carers like George and Jos are rare and we don’t expect all our foster carers to take on as much as them, but if you think you could provide a happy home to a child in need please get in touch.”
They came to George and Jos as foster children.
Tanya, aged 31, came to the Hindle household aged 14 months. She is now a home carer for the elderly and has a six year old daughter and two year old son of her own.
“Coming to live with George and Jos was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, they are amazing parents and I couldn’t have asked for better support from them. They’ve been with me through my ups and downs, even supporting me to be in touch with my birth family. People don’t realise what a difference foster carers make, I’ve got a good education and been part of a normal family.”
Lisa, aged 34, came to the Hindles aged just one and grew up as part of their family. She is now working in childcare and has three children.
“My mum is a true inspiration to me. She is why when leaving school I went to college and got my NVQ in childcare. The way I was raised, I couldn’t fault it. My dad is super too, you could always to talk him about anything. My children will always call them nana and grandpa, we are so lucky.
Kelly, aged 35, came into foster care aged two from an abusive upbringing. She now has two children of her own.
She said: “Jos and George are amazing people. I feel privileged to call them my parents, but what they are to me means so much more. I wasn’t the easiest of children due to what I had been through, but that never phased them. Growing up, I suffered from mental health problems, and the sheer love and support they have shown me over the years pulled me through. I have never known two people more patient, understanding and giving, they both have devoted their lives to helping children in need.”
The weekly allowance for foster carers has been increased to £115 by the county council.
If you’re interested in speaking to the fostering team call 03001236723 or visit the foster section of the county council website.
You can pay your tributes and thank yous to the Hindles in the comments below