Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn wants to shine a light on the work Foster Monmouthshire’s foster carers do, as Abergavenny Market Hall prepares to light up orange this Foster Care Fortnight.

While many of us have had family and friends there to support us during difficult times faced over the last year, many children and young people across Wales need that support more than ever before. Now, as Foster Care Fortnight – a national awareness raising and recruitment campaign run by The Fostering Network – begins, Monmouthshire County Council is calling on more people in the county to consider fostering.

With this year’s theme being ‘#WhyWeCare’, Welsh artist, Nathan Wyburn, who is known for his unique methods of creating art, has produced a piece using LED lights to help prove how any house can become a safe and loving home. Nathan said, “I was sent a poem that encompassed everything foster carers do in providing a brighter future for children across Wales and wanted to create something that champions them in the way they open the doors to their homes – and their hearts.

“I chose to turn those words into art with a piece that signifies a home being the literal light at the end of the tunnel for children and young people.

“I think one of the biggest myths around fostering is that you have to have a big house with a big garden to be a foster carer – and that’s just not true.”

A video showing a time-lapse of the piece coming together and overlaid with said poem shows how the context of the art is unclear, “It’s only when the lights are switched on, there is clarity,” adds Nathan.

“A sense of possibility and positivity shines through!” Now people across Monmouthshire are being asked to show their support for Foster Care Fortnight by placing a lamp in their front window next Thursday (20th May) to ‘shine a light’ on the work being done by Local Authority foster carers, and celebrate their efforts in transforming children and young people’s lives. Buildings across Wales, including Abergavenny Market will also be lit up in orange to observe the remarkable work they do. Councillor Penny Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health said, “Foster carers provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families.

“While many of us may have been unhappy about spending the best part of the last year cooped up at home, for some young people they can only dream of having the sense of safety, security and comfort that home has provided us with. It’s quite simply something that can seem out of reach to some children and young people.”

Hundreds of new foster families are needed every year in Wales to care for children of all ages, and in particular for sibling groups, older children and young people, children with additional needs, and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

“There are many misconceptions surrounding fostering.” added Councillor Penny Jones.

“For example, some people think you have to be in a relationship or married – or own your own home – and that’s simply not true.

“One of the things about fostering is that it’s not about changing a child, it’s about letting them be themselves and helping them discover who they are so they can flourish. Therefore, we welcome applications from people who can bring a wide range of life and work experiences with them to the role.

“Many people in Monmouthshire will have spare rooms that could become a sanctuary, transforming a child’s life and ensuring they thrive.”

Foster Monmouthshire will be sharing content across their social media channels throughout Foster Care Fortnight to help more people understand and value fostering and the positive difference it can make to young people’s lives. If you think you could make a difference by becoming a foster carer in Monmouthshire visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/fostering or 01873 735950