Parents who have fostered children have told their stories in the hope other people will follow their lead.

The parents, including a couple who have fostered more than 30 children in the last 15 years, have described fostering a child as rewarding and the best thing they have ever done as Sutton Council appeals for people to come forward to fill a shortfall of carers.

The council has 69 fostering households but is looking to recruit another 50 in order to keep up with rising demand - there are 180 looked-after children in Sutton following a 25 per cent rise last year.

Laura Goodwin, a mother of three from Sutton who, with her partner Malcolm Baker, has looked after over 30 foster children in the last 15 years, said: "Fostering is the best thing I have ever done.

"It has been a pleasure to be able to provide the children we look after with a home filled with love - even if it's just for a short period of time.

"Many come to us not having had the best start in life and we provide them with happy memories and create a bridge to a happier, more stable future.

"We have three children ourselves but I was inspired by seeing the happiness fostering brought others and was keen to offer my help.

"You need to be very supportive, have a good sense of humour and be a good listener.

"Sometimes you need to step back a bit, but it is always important to be a friend as well as a guide and carer.

"We now have a 10 month old grandson of our own but it does not make me think I should take a break, I will keep fostering as long as I can."

Carshalton couple Paul and Kathy Goulding have been fostering for five years. Mr Goulding said: "The youngest we have fostered was three years old, the eldest was 11 when he came to us, we have also looked after siblings.

"It has been such a rewarding experience, one that has given me many proud moments. If you are able to give the time and support that’s needed then I would definitely encourage people to start fostering."

Foster carers can come from all backgrounds and be of any age.  To find out more visit Westcroft Library on the first Tuesday of the month from 3.30pm to 5pm, visit Wallington Farmers Market on Saturday, visit, call or text  07515 137752 or email

Sutton Guardian:

Paul and Kathy Goulding