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Family recipes showcase Wales’ diverse fostering community

THIS Foster Care Fortnight™, Foster Wales is calling on people across Wales to consider becoming foster carers, by sharing real-life fostering moments, and recipes in their celeb-backed cookbook Bring something to the table. 

Research by Foster Wales – the national network of local authority fostering services – found 3 in 5 (61%) foster carers had fostered at least one child experiencing food insecurity. While 1 in 4 faced challenges when cooking quick and healthy meals for the children in their care. 

Bring something to the table is packed with over 20 recipes, from celebrities including MasterChef Winner, Wynne Evans; Young MasterChef Judge, Poppy O’Toole; and cook, Colleen Ramsey. 

It also features recipes from the foster care community, including athlete and foster care campaigner, Fatima Whitbread, and foster carers GBBO contestant Jon Jenkins, and comedian Kiri Pritchard Mclean. 

Comedian Kiri, who fosters with Foster Wales Anglesey, has contributed a chicken kabsa recipe to the book. Talking about her dish she said: This is a traditional Arab dish originating from Yemen that we made for a young person who was with us from Syria, he talked about a type of boiled chicken he used to have and after a bit of investigating we worked out it was kabsa. 

“Some of the ingredients might take a bit of tracking down if you, like us, don’t have much of a world food aisle in the supermarket. But once you’ve bought them, they go very far, and we have it about once a fortnight now – it’s delicious and a great way to feed a big group of people.” 

By highlighting the simple things carers can offer – like the security of regular mealtimes, family time around the table and creating new food favourites, Foster Wales aim to show that many people already have the skills needed to support a young person through local authority fostering. 

18.01.24 – Celebrity Masterchef winner Wynne Evans cooks a pasta dish for Foster Wales carers at Newport Market as part of the Bring Something to the Table campaign –

‘It’s as simple as knowing breakfast, lunch, and dinner will always be on the table’

To launch the book during Foster Care Fortnight (13 – 28 May), Colleen Ramsey, author of ‘Bywyd a Bwyd, Life Through Food’, will host a cookery workshop for young care-experienced people to learn a new recipe and vital cooking skills to take into their future independent lives. 

Sophia Warner, a Welsh illustrator, campaigner, and care-experienced young person, illustrated and wrote the foreword for the cookbook:

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“When I was younger, I vividly recall grilling my foster mum about the origins of the food she presented, insisting it hailed from Brecon, my beloved childhood stomping ground. I penned ‘Brecon Bolognese’ for the cookbook, based on my foster mum’s recipe. 

“This recipe holds a special place in my heart because it was the first meal I had when I moved into my foster home. I mentioned that my birth mum used to make it and my foster mum lovingly prepared it for me. As I sat around the table with my new foster family, I felt a sense of belonging and warmth, making me feel truly welcome.”

More foster families are needed across Wales

In Wales, there are more than 7,000 children in care, but only 3,800 foster families. 

Foster Wales has set out with the bold aim of recruiting over 800 new foster families by 2026, to provide welcoming homes for local children and young people.

Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, said, “Working with the fostering community and involving our young care-experienced people is at the heart of all our work, so we can continue busting the myths around young people in care and who can be a foster carer.  

“Our aim is to share realistic experiences of foster care and show it’s the everyday skills – like cooking dinner every evening – that makes young people feel safe, builds their confidence, and creates indelible memories. 

“Local authority fostering is flexible, inclusive, and comes with extensive training and professional development opportunities. We’re urging anyone who is considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch with your local authority today.”

The cookbook will be distributed to foster carers across Wales and a digital version can be downloaded from: fosterwales.gov.wales/bringsomethingtothetable

To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Wales visit fosterwales.gov.wales