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Bridgend foster carer shares family recipe in new ‘celeb-backed’ cookbook

TO CELEBRATE Foster Care Fortnight™ 2024, Foster Wales has launched a brand-new cookbook, entitled ‘Bring something to the table’ which will feature an exciting selection of mouth-watering recipes for readers to sample.

Vicky Davies, a foster carer from Bridgend has shared her cherished family recipe in the new book which boasts 20 recipes from celebrity chefs, along with recipes from people in the fostering community.

The book also shares some life-changing fostering moments from carers and care experienced young people in a bid to raise awareness of the need for more people to come forward and consider fostering.

Foster Care Fortnight™ is an annual campaign from The Fostering Network aimed at raising the profile of fostering to show how by becoming a foster carer, you can transform young lives.

Recent research by Foster Wales found people are often put off applying to become a carer because they don’t believe they have the ‘right’ skills and experience. 

In their new cookbook, Foster Wales highlights the simple things, a carer can offer – like the security of a regular meal, family time around the table, and creating new food favourites.

MasterChef Winner, Wynne Evans; Young MasterChef Judge, Poppy O’Toole; and cook/author Colleen Ramsey have contributed recipes. Also featured are Olympic athlete and foster care campaigner, Fatima Whitbread, who was herself in care. 

Former Great British Bake-Off contestant Jon Jenkins and comedian Kiri Pritchard Mclean also added recipes – drawing on their personal experiences as foster carers.

Most importantly, Vicky Davies has shared her Yorkshire pudding recipe, which is a firm favourite with the children she cares for: “Sunday roast is the favourite in our house – chaotic but a firm favourite. The children love being sat at the table at mealtimes, interacting as a family unit and being involved in conversation. 

“One of the children I cared for even said it was her favourite part of her day when we were all together at the table.”

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Vicky shares a secret ingredient that she adds into her Yorkshire pudding recipe, revealed in the cookbook. 

To launch the book, 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. 

Young care experienced people have also been heavily involved in the development of the cookbook.

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

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.

Councillor Jane Gebbie, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Health, said: “Every year Foster Care Fortnight highlights the need for foster carers in our county borough, and this year is no different. With the release of this wonderful cookbook, the hope is that it will inspire prospective foster carers locally to realise their potential and what they can ‘bring to the table’.

“Many of us have skills and experience that would make us perfect foster carers, and we hope that the networking Foster Wales Bridgend will undertake during this two-week event will enable our residents to visualise a future where they themselves could foster a young person in need.  

“This campaign is also an opportunity for us to celebrate our committed team of foster carers, and sincerely thank them for everything they do to ensure the needs of children and young people are not only met, but as they demonstrate daily, go above and beyond to create safe and supportive environments, where young people can thrive and experience life changing moments. 

“We would like to invite individuals in our local communities to explore the exciting possibilities of fostering children and young people with Foster Wales Bridgend.”

The cookbook will be distributed to foster carers across Wales and a digital version can be downloaded here.

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

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