Care leaver Tom found his foster carers after moving around when he was little.

They came out of retirement to look after Tom on a long-term basis, something he sees as special and that showed how much they loved him.

Tom's foster carers did everything they could to understand his needs and support him during his childhood and into his life as a young adult.

Tom said: “They weren't my real parents but they felt like it.

“They were, and still are, my family. “Looking back, my foster carers and my school - Chesnut Lodge in Widnes - were the constants in my life and I can still count on them today when I need help with something.”

Tom has been living almost independently - with a little help from carers - for six years and has ambitions of making it in the theatre industry. Since the age of four, Tom has auditioned and secured more than 15 major roles, from Judas Iscarriot to Peter Pan, as well as understudying for the Tin Man and playing a pantomime dame.

The 26-year-old is keen to pursue more villainous roles in the future, which will be a complete contrast to his own character, which he describes as Mr Nice Guy.

Tom said: “My foster parents encouraged me to take part in school plays from a really young age, to build up my confidence.

“They knew I could express myself onstage and acting helped me to cope with my confidence issues.

“I looked tough on the outside but this was often just an act.”

Tom believes his resilience makes him unique, and while some of the things he's experienced haven't always been positive, he's always found a way to face them and move on, thanks to the support from his friends, his current carers and foster carers.

He added: “If you're thinking about fostering, just go for it!”

Tom is applying for a place at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) for September 2022 and is looking to create a celebration performance at Chesnut Lodge, in honour of the school's 50th anniversary. He also has plans to write, direct and perform in the show.

Get the whole family involved with fostering

Foster carers' sons and daughters play a huge role in welcoming new children into families.

The fostering team at Foster4 is often asked whether people can foster if they already have their children and the answer is always yes.

The decision to foster is something that everyone in the household needs to be on board with.

Sharing their parents, their home and their things with children they don't know can sometimes be a bit of a learning curve for youngsters but the sons and daughters of foster carers make a huge contribution to the lives of the children and young people who are placed in the family.

Birth children can benefit from being part of the fostering experience, seeing life from a different perspective and learning to develop as an individual.

They are included in the application process and there are many support groups, activities and mentoring sessions to ensure sons and daughters are supported and their views are represented.

For more information about fostering visit or call 01925 444100.

You can also email or use @foster4cheshire on Facebook and Instagram.