A couple from Bushey have dedicated 30 years of their life as foster parents, supporting more than 100 children.

Carole and Mick Knell have fostered 108 children over the years, while also having five children of their own.

As part of a campaign to find new foster parents in Hertfordshire, the couple have spoken about their "love" for fostering and there are no signs of them giving up their selfless deeds anytime soon.

They said: "Fostering is not just a huge part of our lives, it’s our way of life. Our family feel like they are giving something back to children who are not so fortunate. It’s just so worthwhile watching children grow and thrive and being part of that incredible journey.

"We normally foster sibling groups so we can keep families together and we love the laughter and energy children bring into our home. It can be challenging at times and can feel like we are on a roller coaster, but it’s a ride that we enjoy and don’t want to get off. We just love fostering."

Carole and Mick Knell from Bushey

Carole and Mick Knell from Bushey

Foster Care Fortnight, which is running from May 10 to 23 is being marked by Hertfordshire County Council, in partnership with The Fostering Network.

This year's annual campaign is focus on 'Why we care' and the council has been highlighting the many options and choices available to someone who decides to become a foster carer.

There are over 1,000 children and young people in care in Hertfordshire that still need the love and support of a foster family. The council needs to recruit 60 foster carers each year to meet demand.

Children in care have varying situations and needs so there are many different forms of fostering, from full time fostering to offering short sleepover breaks. Every level of support helps, and each foster carer can choose what is right for them and their family.

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: "Foster carers have supported children and young people’s education, health, and social wellbeing, and they have also helped to maintain the children’s relationships with the people who are important to them, either through face to face contact or virtually when it has not been safe to meet with others.

"Despite the practical and emotional challenges that the pandemic has brought, foster carers have continued to provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families – and from the bottom of my heart, I thank them.

"Being a foster carer is to take on a role like no other, so if you are looking for a new lifestyle or career in the aftermath of this dreadful pandemic and you believe you have the right skills, I want you to consider becoming a foster carer."

If you want to make a difference and become a foster carer in Hertfordshire, you must be over 21 years old, and have at least one spare room in your home.

Anyone who fosters with Hertfordshire County Council can expect a generous allowance, full training and unrivalled local support. For more information, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or call the fostering recruitment team on 0800 917 0925.