FORMER Oxford United manager Mark Wright has urged people to help look after needy children.
The former England defender was visiting the city yesterday as part of Foster Care Fortnight, to raise awareness for the lack of foster carers.
Fostering agency Foster Care Associates says 10,000 more carers are needed across the UK.
Mr Wright, 50, who grew up in Dorchester on Thames, became a foster carer after learning about the plight of some children through his wife Sue’s career as a barrister specialising in family law.
He said: “When you are a footballer or sports person every day you are in your own little bubble.
“My wife is a barrister specialising in family law and child protection and when she brought some cases home it really made me aware of how many children are out there suffering. For a country full of millions, how are we 10,000 foster carers short?”
Mr Wright played for Oxford in the early 80s before enjoying a glittering career at Southampton, Derby and Liverpool in the 1980s and 90s. He played for England 45 times and scored a header against Egypt in the group stage of the 1990 World Cup.
He is now an ambassador for the FCA, having fostered four children over six years and is currently looking after a young girl.
He said: “The hardest thing is when you see them leave.”
Mr Wright managed the U’s in 2001 when they were newly relegated to the Football League’s bottom division.
He was in Oxford as part of a car rally across Britain organised by the FCA to raise awareness for foster caring.
Olwyn Skinner, fostering service manager for the FCA, said: “The point of this event is to get the wider public to know more about fostering and the type of person who can foster.
“A lot of people would like to do it but either because they are single or are in a same-sex relationship or don’t own their own home they think they won’t be able to foster.
“If you have got some room in your heart and some room in your house, then please think about it.”
She was joined by Wantage foster carer Michael Kelly, 59, who with his wife Linda has taken in around 10 children in the seven years they have been fostering.
He said: “There are a few rules that come into play but it is like having your own family.”
An information evening on fostering will take place tomorrow from 6.30pm to 8pm at County Hall, New Road, Oxford.
County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The county council currently has 293 registered foster carer households providing a range of foster care placements from emergency and short-term to long-term and specialist placements. The majority of children are successfully placed with foster carers, though when this cannot be done, children are placed with fostering agencies.”
- Visit oxfordshire.gov.uk/ fostering or call 0800 7835724.
- See tomorrow’s Oxford Mail for more about Foster Care Fortnight.
- Top News
Our top stories:
7:43am Saturday 31st January 2015
IT'S been snowing overnight in Oxfordshire and here's some of the pictures our readers have sent in.
9:00am Saturday 31st January 2015
THE POPPY Appeal’s fundraising target has been smashed in the county.
3:17pm Saturday 31st January 2015
THREE men have been arrested after a man was left with "serious injuries," police say.
1:20pm Saturday 31st January 2015
A British military healthcare worker has been brought back to England for Ebola monitoring after suffering a needle-stick injury while treating a person in Sierra Leone.
9:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
Danny Hylton has warned Oxford United will get “eaten alive” at Stevenage today unless they match their hosts’ appetite for a battle.
8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
BUILDERS and Oxford University dons have celebrated “topping out” one of Oxford’s newest and most prominent buildings.
8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
OXFORDSHIRE’s biggest local authority is to scrap its top unelected position as part of a radical shake-up to save costs.
8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015
MINISTER Penny Mordaunt toured burned-out council headquarters to show her support for staff.
7:00am Saturday 31st January 2015
A 91-YEAR-OLD who served as a verger at the burial of Sir Winston Churchill has recounted the historic day 50 years on.
6:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
FOR years Mike Cross was confused about why a football match he was playing in as a 16-year-old was suspended as a train went past.
6:20am Saturday 31st January 2015
A £6 MILLION revamp to a shopping centre in Oxford has been completed to make it “bigger” and “brighter”.
6:00am Saturday 31st January 2015
HOUSEHOLDS fear removing trees from railway sidings has exposed them to more noise and vibrations as a survey revealed homes had historical structural damage.
9:00am Friday 30th January 2015
THE family of man who escaped a mental hospital, fled abroad then hanged himself in a prison cell have said he was let down by Oxford Health.
12:06pm Thursday 29th January 2015
SNOW has been forecast for Oxfordshire over the weekend and a yellow weather warning is still in place for today.