The North Yorkshire Moors Railway's Santa Special steamed out of Grosmont with some VIP passengers on board – a carriage full of Fostering North Yorkshire families and the children they look after.

Fostering North Yorkshire families get ready to steam out of Grosmont on the Santa Special

The huge Santa Special steam train set off from Grosmont on a very cold and frosty afternoon and the time on board gave Fostering North Yorkshire’s families an opportunity to socialise and share experiences, as well as having a family fun time out in the run-up to Christmas. Santa was very generous with his gifts too - every child got a special present after visiting Santa in his train carriage grotto.

The Santa Special tickets were funded by a generous donation from Proudfoots Supermarkets of Scarborough and a very special day out was made even more magical as the icicles on the railway embankments made it a real winter wonderland.

Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY) is part of North Yorkshire County Council and has an impressive record of placing the children and young people in its care with local foster families. More than 300 children are looked after by the county’s foster carers every year. These foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds and family make-up, but what they all have in common is their desire to provide a secure and welcoming home for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.

“In North Yorkshire we really value the hard work our foster carers do and we want to make sure they are supported, not only with training and advice, but also with opportunities to relax and spend positive time with their families,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.

“When someone decides to become a foster carer it impacts on the entire family. Fostering North Yorkshire recognises that the opportunity to spend quality time together is important. Days out like this ensure that all children in foster families can enjoy themselves together. It’s also a recognition of the fact that children whose parents foster need our support as well”.

Because FNY is committed to ensuring that the young people it looks after can stay in their local communities, its fostering families can have confidence they will not be taking children from outside of the county and that they will be giving a local young person the best possible chance to turn their lives around.

And, as well as huge emotional rewards, joining Fostering North Yorkshire also brings with it generous tax-free payments and allowances, and while this is not the main motivation for most foster carers, additional income streams can be very welcome.

A Fostering North Yorkshire accredited carer receives more than £300 each week tax-free for fostering a child aged 11 to 15, equivalent to an annual income of around £16,000. Foster carers who have completed their advanced training and have the skills to support teenagers with some complex and challenging behaviours can expect to receive around £29,000 annually, based on a having a young person in a foster placement for 52 weeks a year.

For more information visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.

This story was published 13 December 2017