IT was a case of empty nest syndrome that made mum-of-two Viv Towers make the first call that was to change the lives of so many children.
Having successfully set her own children on their path into adulthood and becoming single, Viv decided to become a foster carer.
But when her father died she found herself in need of short-term support for the youngsters in her care.
It was realising the importance of the service and her change of circumstances which led Viv to open her home to children at weekends and holidays or whenever it was most needed.
Three years on, and not only have the children who visited her benefited from the help she has selflessly given, but her life has also been enriched by their visits.
“It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life and stresses but when you meet these youngsters and learn their story it puts everything else in perspective,” explained Viv, who lives in Kirkby.
“I look forward to their visits as I take them places I wouldn’t normally go to like the cinema and Hardwick Hall. It helps keep me young as well as they reintroduce me to things from my younger days. One teenager is into music and asked me if I would take them to a concert and another likes to cook, so not only am I enabling him to do something he likes, he is learning independent living skills too.
“We plan together what they would like to do on their next visit and it gives the young people something to look forward to. And when they confide in you, you know you have gained their confidence and trust.”
Over the years, Viv has cared for more than 20 children who come and go as necessary, many of whom keep in touch into adulthood.
“The youngsters really thrive from the one-on-one time with me that they may not get elsewhere,” added Viv. “It helps build up their confidence and self-esteem and gives them a safe place to be themselves.”