Sharon and Bev break stereotypes by celebrating 11 years of fostering

Date published: 22 February 2024

Oldham Council is encouraging LGBTQ+ individuals to explore the opportunities and rewards of fostering during National LGBT+ History Month.

With National LGBT+ History Month in February 2024, the council is inviting everyone to consider this meaningful and rewarding experience.

LGBTQ+ couple Sharon and Bev have been fostering with the council for more than a decade.

Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Sharon and Bev's story is inspiring.

"I cannot praise their commitment and wonderful care for young people enough over their 11 years of fostering.

"Fostering is open to everyone who can provide children with safe and loving homes.

"I hope their story will inspire anyone thinking about becoming a foster parent.

“If you think you have the space in your home and your heart, and the skills needed to help children thrive, please contact the Oldham Fostering Service.”

Sharon and Bev are a fantastic LGBTQ+ couple, who are breaking myths and showing us all that love and acceptance matter most.

Sharon and Bev, who have been together some 39 years, said: "We once thought LGBTQ+ people couldn't foster or adopt - but this is not the case and now we have been fostering for over 11 years with Oldham Council.”

Fostering is about giving children a loving home, and it doesn't care about your sexuality, gender, race, or beliefs. The assessment process checks if you can provide a safe and loving home, giving everyone a fair chance.

"The fact we were a lesbian couple didn't matter during the assessment. We were treated just like any other couple. No one judged us for being LGBTQ+. It was all about our ability to care for a child," emphasised Sharon and Bev.

The council want everyone to know that LGBTQ+ people often have unique qualities that make them great at fostering.

They often understand what it feels like to experience discrimination or prejudice, and that helps them create a safe place for children who've been through tough times.

Sharon and Bev said: "Facing discrimination because of our sexuality made us stronger.

"It helps us understand and support the children in our care better."

Fostering isn't just about helping children; it's also an option for those who can't adopt or have their own birth children to build a family.

"If you're LGBTQ+ and thinking about fostering, just go for it. Ask questions and contact Oldham Fostering Service today. The training gives you a real look at what fostering is like, and how your unique skills can make a big difference in a child's life. They'll bring joy to yours too," encouraged Sharon and Bev.

All carers receive tailored support, comprehensive training, and up to £29,000 per year (depending on skills and experience).

The first £18,140 you receive is tax-free, even if you work or have other income.

And there is additional tax relief for every week you foster a child.

This is known as qualifying care relief.

The financial rewards don’t stop there and there’s the potential to receive other benefits and allowances, such as holiday pay and additional payments to cover the cost of the child's activities and hobbies.

For more information, call 0161 770 6600 or visit:

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