It takes one person to change a life, that’s why fostering is so crucial.

Small things can make big days, and lovely memories too.

Michelle Orr from our fostering team looks back on her childhood in foster care, and how it inspired her decision to become a Child and Youth Care Worker with Kibble.

Michelle, aged 39, has worked with Kibble since 2008, initially joining our charity to assist in residential children’s houses, before moving to her current role in Intensive Fostering Services (IFS). Being care-experienced herself, Michelle believes that fostering is her vocation and allows her to give something back to others.

Michelle was in care in Glasgow between the ages of nine and 13, before moving to Bridge of Weir to be with the family she is proud to call her own today. Michelle found that her upbringing has helped her to relate to those in her care, however, is passionate about the fact that each young person is an individual, with their own experience, background and needs.

“Every young person is unique, with different roots, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. We aim to pair individuals that can connect over shared values, which is why diversity within our carers is so important at Kibble.

“I think there is often an assumption that foster carers are one specific type of person, when in reality, anyone who is willing to give a young person a safe and loving home can be a foster carer. If you can make a good cup of tea, can listen and show understanding, you already have some of the key skills we’re looking for. Our young people need someone who is patient and loving and can acknowledge without judgement that they have been through a tough time. Kibble will support you with the rest.

“My colleagues and I work with both foster carers and young people to ensure that everyone has the individual support that they need. We offer 24/7 assistance to young people and their carers, alongside a carer support group, team meetings with key workers and comprehensive training too. You’re never alone on your fostering journey – Kibble makes sure of that.

“It might seem cliché, but IFS really is like a family. We pull together our individual strengths to support the young people in our care. The most rewarding part of my role is the relationships I have built along the way. I have worked with one young person since they were really young, and I love that we can reminisce about their childhood and enjoy share all the memories we have together.

“At Kibble, we aim to provide young people with the same range of life-experiences as anyone else – be it learning how to bake, day trips away, or even holidays when restrictions allow. These might seem run of the mill, or even insignificant, but small things can make big days, and lovely memories too.

“Aside from regular visits to the young person’s new family home; we also provide programme work, such as counselling, and independent life skills such as budgeting. Even throughout the pandemic this level of care has remained constant for those who are a part of Kibble’s IFS through Zoom and Skype calls to check-in with young people and their foster carers.

“I know myself – it takes one person to change a life. Fostering saved my life, so I know the crucial role that foster carers can play.

“Unfortunately, many families and young people have been affected throughout the pandemic which in turn has increased the need for safe homes for young people throughout the country.  The more carers we have the more we are able to protect those who come into our care, and I can’t tell you the difference you could make to someone’s life by taking this step.”