MEET Lancashire’s super fosterers. Jos and George Hindle have opened their hearts and home to 241 youngsters since they stared fostering in 1979.
This amazing couple, who have two grown up children of their own, also adopted five youngsters during decades caring for youngsters in need at their home in Cromwell Road, Ribbleton.
Now they are retiring and it’s time to remember how it all started. George, 74, recalled: “We saw an advert in the paper asking if we had a spare room, our own children were growing up and Jos was working as a childminder at the time. We both loved being with children so we thought we’d give it a go. We never planned it, it just happened, but we enjoyed it so much we’ve carried on for all these years.”
They have cared for all age groups from babies to teenagers, for anything from a few days until they have grown up.
Jos, aged 74, said: “People think that children in care are all difficult, and obviously it has its challenges but we’ve found it’s no different than the normal issues you have with your own kids. They just need to know they are loved and feel safe. We will miss the buzz around the house! And how it fills your life. I’ve loved every minute and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
But it won’t be too quiet - although they’ve stepped down from new fostering placements they still have two teenagers at home and say the pair will be a home with them for as long as the students need it. With a huge extended family and seven grandchildren under 10 they expect to be kept quite busy.
George, who still works in the family coal merchant business, G. and J. Hindle, said: “We are so proud of all the children we’ve looked after over the years and their achievements. Many are now doing great jobs and are bringing up their own families, it makes it all worthwhile to know we have helped them on their way.
He continued: “ It will be nice to have more time to spend with our extended family...,at family get togethers there can be 40 odd people there. Everyone really gets on well though and our sons have always been welcoming and happy to help out with their fostered and adopted siblings.”
The couple were invited to a special ceremony at county hall to mark their achievements. Cabinet member Coun Matthew Tomlinson said: “Not many people can say they have directly made a difference to the lives of so many children and theirs will be big shoes to fill.”
To learn more about fostering contact the county council.
Adopted daughters say a special thank you
The couple’s three grown up adopted daughters explain what the couple mean to them
Tanya, aged 31, came to the Hindle household aged 14 months. She is now a home carer for the elderly and has a six year old daughter and two year old son of her own.
“Coming to live with George and Jos was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, they are amazing parents and I couldn’t have asked for better support from them. They’ve been with me through my ups and downs, even supporting me to be in touch with my birth family. People don’t realise what a difference foster carers make, I’ve got a good education and been part of a normal family.”
Lisa, aged 34, came to the Hindles aged just one year and grew up as part of their family. She is now working in childcare and has three children.
“My mum is a true inspiration to me. She is why when leaving school I went to college and got my NVQ in childcare. The way I was raised, I couldn’t fault it. My dad is super too, you could always to talk him about anything. My children will always call them nana and grandpa, we are so lucky. They would help organise events throughout the year so the kids in care could enjoy days out and made sure each got a present. They are truly two in a million.”
Kelly, aged 35, came into foster care aged two and now has two children of her own. She said:
“Jos and George are amazing people. I feel privileged to call them my parents, but what they are to me means so much more. I wasn’t the easiest of children due to what I had been through, but that never phased them. Growing up, I suffered from mental health problems, and the sheer love and support they have shown me over the years pulled me through. I have never known two people more patient, understanding and giving, they both have devoted their lives to helping children in need.”