Lynda Coomber

Pontyclun’s Lynda Coomber is helping to foster futures with the support of many, including two very special little helpers – the two girls she provides long-term foster care for!Foster Lynda Coomberrr

Lynda, who has been working for Fostering RCT for the last 10 years, has two girls aged 10 and 11 who are in her care long term, which means they will stay with her until they reach adulthood.

But she also provides shorter-term care, for a few weeks or months, for other looked-after children who need it the most and welcomed a 13-year-old girl into her home on a short-term placement at the end of last year.

Lynda, who says she still gets excited every time the phone rings asking her to help another young person, strives to be as welcoming as she can be when a new child or young person is brought to her home.

She said: “I put on a big smile and be cheerful as I know how frightening it must be for them to arrive at the home of someone who is, at that point in time, a stranger to them.

“The two girls who have been with me for three years and seven years know the household well, so they step in and share their toys, music players and more.

“It was so heartwarming when the girl we have with us now arrived, and the two youngest girls were showing her around the house, sharing their toys, books and music players and reassuring her that ‘Lynda is lovely, you have nothing to worry about’.

“They can see it from both sides. They know what it is like to be taken into care and both were in her shoes once. But they also know me, my family and my household and can share that with her too.

“They all sat down together and made me thank you cards for Mother’s Day and it meant so much to me.

“I could not foster if it was not for the support of my husband, my children, my grandchildren, the Fostering Support Team and the other Fostering RCT foster carers who began as peers and mentors and are now my friends.

“But the two long-term placements I have also make it special as they intuitively know what to say and do to reassure and welcome a child who has come to stay with us on a short term basis.”

Lynda, who has five children and 10 grandchildren, applied to be a foster carer when her own children left home and started families of their own. Her youngest child was 21 when she began fostering.

Since then, she has cared for over 50 boys and girls in the last 10 years and says she loves being a Foster Carer and would not change it for the world.

She says while it does come with challenges and there may be issues you face that you are not sure if you can deal with or not, seeing a young person grow in confidence, develop interests and friendships and do well in school is such a reward.

Lynda explained: “You have to be willing to just sit and listen to a child and then work with them to help them achieve what they want to achieve.

“So many people think fostering is about dealing with troubled children and managing issues that have happened in the past. Of course it is true to say that children in care have not had the best start to lives, but most of them are children who just want to do well and enjoy the things every other child of their age gets to enjoy.

“Simple things such as a meal around a table with the family, help doing homework and, of course, fun on the weekends and in the holidays.

“We are lucky enough to have a caravan in Porthcawl and the foster children love to go there. For some it is the first time they have been to the beach.

“Thanks to the regular coffee mornings held by foster carers to ensure we keep in touch and support each other, we have a strong group of friends and we try to get away to Spain every year, all the foster carers, their own children and the looked-after children – we have such a good time!”

Lynda says fostering is not for everyone, but she believes there are many people out there who have thought about it but have not yet taken the first step.

Her advice to them is to take that first step and find out more. There is so much information on hand to help you make the right decision and the Skills to Foster course provides an exceptional insight into the role, what is expected of you and what support you can expect in return. If, at the end of that course, you feel fostering is not for you, at least you have found out all that you can.

Fostering RCT is recruiting foster carers now. All you need is a spare bedroom and the commitment to make a difference to the life of a child who needs it the most. A sense of humour is also a must.

There is no set kind of person who is a foster carer. Fostering RCT welcomes married and single carers, those who work and those who are retired. You don’t need to own your own home and it does not matter if you have your own children or not. Fostering RCT is a Stonewall Top 100 LGBT employer.

Find out more and request your free information pack via www.fosteringrct.co.uk

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