A GAY couple from Taunton who foster children are sharing their story to inspire others who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to not let anything stand in their way if they want to foster.

Their message comes ahead of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week 2016, which takes place next week.

Chris, 45, and Ian, 31, have been civil partnered for eight years.

The couple have been fostering for 18 months and are long term foster carers for 0-18-yearolds.

They are currently caring for two teenage boys with “chalk and cheese” personalities.

Ian works in the maternity unit at Musgrove Park Hospital and Chris has recently become a full-time foster carer, and helps train prospective carers.

Chris said: “If you want to foster, and identify as LGBT, do what you feel is right.

“If it’s something you want to do, you should go for it.

When you’re going into fostering, you’re doing it because you want to make a difference to a child’s life, not to satisfy someone’s opinion of you, and if you have those skills to offer, then why shouldn’t you?

“It’s far more socially acceptable to be openly gay now; far more part of our society, culture and education.”

Through a combination of “boundaries, consistent parenting, and support”, Chris and Ian have not just fostered young people, but have helped them with their ambitions.

Chris added: “It’s making the difference. When you look at where we were six months ago, and see how far the children have come, what they’ve achieved, it makes you feel really proud.

“It’s getting them to believe in themselves and recognise their potential.”

To enquire about becoming a foster carer for Somerset, or about the Fostering to Adopt initiative, visit www.foster adoptsomerset.org.uk or phone 080058-79900.

There will also be an event on Tuesday, March 15, at Costa Taunton, Fore Street, from 7-9pm.

You can find out more about Chris and Ian’s experiences by visiting www.fosteradopt somerset.org.uk.

To find out more about LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week 2016 (March 7-13), visit www.lgbtadoptfosterweek.org.uk.