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This month with Paul McLain

Deputy Leader of Gloucestershire County Council and Cheltenham Borough Councillor

The Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, New Year’s Eve. People have been celebrating the end of the year since we first noticed the change of the seasons. Like death and taxes, all great Hogmanay parties result in two certainties. Monumental hangovers and spur of the moment New Year resolutions. Many resolutions last almost as long as the hangover. Most are well and truly finished by St Valentines’ Day. Here in the UK, the top ten resolutions include: stopping smoking, visiting new countries and reading more. The top three, in ascending order are… drum roll please… eating more healthily… getting fit… and number 1 … losing weight.

So is your resolution still on track? Are you well on the way to a toned and buff body? Are you turning the heads of lustful admirers as you disdainfully ignore the chilled bottle of Chablis calling from behind the bar? To those still pounding the treadmill, or munching on mung bean and tofu patties. I salute you.

But just think dear reader. By simply picking up The Cheltonian you are indeed reading more. Yes it may not be your personal resolution, but in the grand karmic scheme of things I‘m sure it still counts. And it’s never too late to make a resolution. The Chinese New Year of the Snake begins on 10th February, so if you’re looking for inspiration, let me make a suggestion; Fostering is a way to make a real positive difference to a child’s life, providing children with a stable and loving home and the support and encouragement they need to flourish and do well. Many carers find it incredibly rewarding.

Foster carers with Gloucestershire County Council are currently paid up to £300 a week. There are lots of options. Some carers provide respite care – giving birth parents a break for a couple of days a month. We provide lots of training and ongoing support. So please give it a thought. All we ask is that you are over the age of 21 and have a spare room in your home.

If you want to know more, please contact the County Council’s Fostering Team on: 01242 532654.