Foster carers in County Durham have written to a national retailer to say thank you for shining a spotlight on what they do.

The group of six, who have taken in young people with the support of Durham County Council, have penned a joint letter to high street giant John Lewis, following the recent release of its 2022 Christmas TV advert.

The company’s festive adverts have become something of an eagerly-awaited annual tradition in recent years, and the 2022 version shines a light on foster carers.

In it, a man is seen struggling to teach himself to skateboard, encouraged by his partner. The advert ends with a nervous young girl arriving at the equally nervous couple’s home, clutching a skateboard. A caption tells viewers there are more than 108,000 children in the UK in the care system.

In County Durham, there are currently over 1,000 children in care and the county council urgently need more carers to join its fostering family, particularly those who feel they could offer a home to teenagers or groups of brothers and sisters.

The six carers were inspired to write to John Lewis as the story in the advert was so similar to their own.

Each member of the group has learned or mastered a new skill since taking children and young people into their care.

Carer Deborah wanted to understand her child’s diabetes better so had a temporary medical procedure to mimic the side effects, while Susan and Steve stepped out of their comfort zone to embrace social media and have since produced a TikTok video.

Fellow carer Cheryl has become a master cook and baker since taking in young people, while Gary is now an adventure park and climbing frame master and Lesley a climbing instructor.

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