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Fostering, sitting and befriending for disabled children and young people.

However much we love our children, most parents look forward to the times when they can have a few hours to themselves knowing that their child is happy visiting friends.

Most children enjoy time away from their parents making new friends and enjoying new experiences.

Disabled children and young people are no different, but can find it hard to make new friends and seldom get invited out without their parents.

How we can help

Toby is part of the family. When he visits, we do ordinary family things such as visiting my mum, games and going swimming. There is never a dull moment with Toby and he certainly keeps us on our toes. It is lovely to see him enjoy himself knowing that his parents have had a good break.

We recruit enthusiastic, caring people who enjoy children’s company and who can make a regular commitment to spend time with a child who has a physical and/or learning disability.

We provide information about a range of challenging and rewarding opportunities.

What it can do for you

Joining Bolton Shared Care changes lives!

  • You can really know you have made a difference.
  • Enrich your life, the lives of your children and grand children.
  • Building friendships and relationships that are unique.
  • Enhance your career prospects by gaining valuable social care experience.

Short break foster carers

Robertʼs family have made me very welcome and I really enjoy going to spend some time with him. We usually play for a while then have some supper and I help him to bed. Robert has some medical needs that I have received training for. I have found Bolton Shared Care supportive with training and they have made sure that I am confident in caring for Robert.

Short break foster carers are couple or single people, with or without their own children, who invite a disabled child to come and stay with them in their own home. At first the child may visit for a few hours and, as everyone gets to know each other better, the visits become longer; an overnight or weekend stay for example.

Sarah and James have been short break foster carers for five years. Sarah and James are both in their forties and have grown up children. They invite Toby, who is 13, to visit them once a week for tea and for one weekend a month. Toby has also stayed for a week when his mum was in hospital.


Sitters are people who go into the child’s home and care for the child during the evening or the weekend whilst parents go out.

Rachael has been a sitter for three years. She sits regularly for Robert and sometime even stays overnight with him if his parents are away for the evening.

I was a bit nervous at first as I had no experience with disabled young people. I met people as part of a group and gradually learnt from the other volunteers. We have a great time now and mid week and night life are part of my social life! I have made some really good friends.


Many young disabled people want to extend their social lives and get out and about with people. Bolton Shared Care offers a number of social opportunities for young people, including ‘Midweek’, a regular drop in session at Starbucks and ‘Night Life’, a regular night out in Bolton for the over 18s. There are also opportunities to go out individually with a young person.

Emily has been a befriender for just over a year. She goes to Starbucks and out with Night Life also once a month.


Next steps

If you are interested in becoming a short break foster carer, a sitter, or a befriender, ring one of the team and arrange to meet up with them. They will come to see you at home, discuss the scheme in more detail and leave you with an application form.

When we receive your application, we will apply for checks and references (including an enhanced CRB check) to make sure there is no reason you should not be working with children or young people. We will invite you on a Preparation For Caring course to help you find out more about Bolton Shared Care and the children and young people you will be meeting.

A member of the team will spend time with you getting to know you better and working out which child you may be able to support.

With our support, we will then introduce you to a child and his or her family and help you to establish some regular support. Training specific to each child’s needs is provided. Ongoing support from your link worker is provided.

Contact us

Bolton shared care

You can ring the team on:

07666 277 981 (Michelle Callow)
0758 414 0738 (Chris Loughran)
07824 541324 (Shaheeda Patel)

Alternatively, contact the Team Manager on 0791 707 1994
or email the team on

Follow us on Facebook: @boltonsharedcare

Follow us on Twitter: @sharecarebolton

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