HOMEOWNERS who have a space in their heart and property to look after a young person are desperately needed in East Renfrewshire.

Council chiefs are searching for people to foster youths aged between 16 and 21 who are not ready to live on their own just yet.

Being placed with suitable supported carers – the term used for those who foster 16 to 21-year-olds – allows a young person to stay in education or employment, keep the same circle of friends and have stability in their life.

These young people also have the chance to thrive as part of a family dynamic that can give them the love and support they need.

Kate Rocks, chief social work officer for East Renfrewshire, said: “Fostering is incredibly rewarding. Most people imagine they would take in a baby or toddler but there are young people of all ages who need the love and guidance of a home setting.

“The difference with taking in a 16 to 21-year-old is they are asking to be placed in a family home. Whilst there are other options available to them, they still want stability and support.”

Lynda Webb, who has been a supported carer for over three years, has urged others to consider being part of what she describes as “a wonderful experience”.

The Thornliebank woman said: “I didn’t take the decision to bring a teen into my home lightly but it was one of the best decisions of my life.

“I was a civil servant with 17-year-old twin boys and fostering had always been in my mind. I reached out to the fostering team at East Renfrewshire Council and have never looked back.

“Whilst there have of course been tough moments along the way, our whole family has absolutely loved bringing young people into our home.

“The support we’ve had from the council has been second to none. The training was excellent and I know our link worker is at the end of the phone any time we need anything.”

Ross, who was fostered by Lynda at the age of 16, added: “I wasn’t ready to be on my own yet and living with Lynda and her family is really helping me.

“We’ve built a close bond and I’ve felt like a genuine part of the family.”

Councillor Caroline Bamforth, chairwoman of the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership Integration Joint Board, added: “The aim of the campaign is to increase the numbers of supported carers in the area who can offer a loving home to young people at a crucial stage in their lives.

“This particular fostering role can be extremely rewarding and I would urge any residents who are interested to get in touch with the team to find out more.”

For more details or to volunteer, visit www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/foster or call 0141 577 8300.