Fostering case studies - Simon`s story

Care leaver Simon shares his story during National Care Leavers` Week 2018

Simon (left), with his brother James,
at his graduation ceremony,
after completing three years of his veterinary degree.

I'm Simon, I'm 21 years old and am currently in my fourth year of studying veterinary medicine at the University of Nottingham. I first entered foster care when I was 12 after my grandmother could no longer care for my brother and I after our parents had sadly died. I moved into care with my brother and we started living with Kevin and David who we both knew already from previous respite care. Not only did Kevin and David welcome us into their home but also into their families and we have both continued to be a part of their families all the way through our time in care and we continue to be a part of the family now. 

I have always had an interest in animals and their care as well as doing well in school. When I moved into foster care I used to help Kevin with many animals that he looks after as part of his job working for an animal charity. This made me more interested in at least working with animals and it was during an employability session in school where a teacher had suggested that I could become a vet that I really started to take this more seriously. 

Part of applying to study veterinary medicine involves having to have done several weeks of work experience working with animals. Both Kevin and David were very supportive in helping me find placements as well as taking me to and from them. I also received support through a scheme at the time to help people in care find work placements which was how I ended up getting a weekend job in a vet practice which really helped my application for university.

I'm currently in my fourth (out of five) year of studying to become a vet. We have moved on from learning general anatomy of animals to learning about illnesses and conditions that they can get. Our final year which begins next Easter is a full year of rotations where I will be able to hone my practical skills and put what I have been taught into practice. I'm really enjoying how practical my course is and how you can see how much of a difference you make to both people's pets or livestock but also the difference you can make to the people themselves.

I've received lots of support over the course both from the university and my local council with both having lots of options for both financial and emotional support. I have also had loads of support from Kevin and David and continue to live with them during my holidays and they still support me to complete all my placements. I'm so glad that I decided to go to university and pursue such an exciting career; being a care leaver has never seemed to impact my experience thanks to all the support that is there for me. 

Get in touch

Take the next step towards fostering, there's plenty of ways to get in touch: