Campaign for foster carers

A Wallsend couple are helping a children’s charity with its latest campaign to recruit more foster carers in North Tyneside.

Jeff and Helen Parkin have been fostering for Barnardo’s since 2001 and have three children of their own, and eight grandchildren with a ninth on the way.

Helen, 59, said: “I wanted to foster because I’ve always had an affinity with kids and so has Jeff.

“In all we’ve had eight or nine children with us, some have stayed a long time, some just a short time as we’ve done respite care as well.”

The Parkins are currently fostering two 16-year-old boys – Mark, who has been with them for a year, and Phil, who has only been with the family for a few weeks.

Steve Oversby, director of Barnardo’s North East, said: “More foster carers for these vulnerable children are urgently needed.

“The most recent calculations estimate that 8,600 are needed across the UK, with a shortage of around 450 foster carers in the north east alone.

“Not enough people are coming forward to foster and meet the needs of these children, but there is a particular urgent need for more foster carers from the north east region.”

For more information about becoming a forster carer or to have an informal chat, contact Barnardo’s fostering team on (0191) 492 9000 or visit