Nineteen-year-old Pip explains what it is like to be fostered.

I’ve been in care since I was three and I’m 19 now. When I was living with my old foster carer I used to come to Andi’s for respite - that’s how I first met her. I’ve now been here, at Andi’s, about two-and-a-half years. When I first visited, I used to say, ‘Oh, I wish I lived here’ and I’m so glad that that wish has come true. Before that, I was living on my own with a foster carer and I didn’t really enjoy living there. Eventually, I had a meeting about it and the outcome was that I couldn’t stay where I was. Then Andi stepped up and said, ‘Pip’s coming with me’ - she said that she wanted to continue caring for me because I’m not much trouble. It’s nice of her and I hope I don’t give her anything to worry about!

I get on really well with her birth children, so it was all quite easy. She’s very different to other foster carers – she lets me grow up and gives me space and freedom. What you’ve got to realise is that everyone is different – but with Andi it feels like a good match. She’s fostered for an awful long time so she’s got a lot of experience. She’s fostered over 80 kids! I’m so glad she didn’t decide to retire - she always says to me that everything happens for a reason.

The only downside right now is that I’m nearing the time when I have to leave Andi’s – and I’m not looking forward to that because I love it here.

I’ve got to say that I really do give credit to people who foster because it’s a very hard job. People have to realise that when you’re looking after somebody else’s child, they’ve been brought up a certain way and they may bring all their troubles with them. So if people are interested in fostering, that’s great because it is a very hard job - I wouldn’t be able to do it! You’ve got to be up for the commitment. From what I know, it’s 24/7 and you’ve got to love kids to do it. It’s a big thing, but if you want to help change someone’s life then that’s great.