A wildflower area in the Forbury Garden is being dedicated to Brighter Futures for Children’s (BFfC) foster carers in Reading to celebrate the amazing work they do.

Reading Mayor Cllr Rachel Eden, Council Leader Jason Brock and BFfC Board Chair Di Smith led a gathering of senior councillors and managers to scatter the wildflower seeds in the Grade II listed gardens this morning (Thursday 18 May).

BFfC foster carers were then invited to a get-together in the gardens to celebrate the dedication of the wildflower area and to mark Foster Care Fortnight (15-28 May).

Brighter Futures for Children’s fostering service is the only not-for-profit Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) in the Reading area.

BFfC worked with Reading Council’s Parks department to create a special area in the Forbury Gardens as a mark of appreciation for the vital work of foster carers.

A plaque will also be installed in the wildflower area reading: ‘Dedicated, with pride, to our foster carers who help children in Reading bloom and grow’.

The wildflowers will be replaced by sensory plants when they fade and the cycle will be repeated in future years.

BFfC would like to thank Roland Staines, Head Gardener at Forbury Gardens, for donating the wildflower seeds for the garden.

The dedication follows the planting of an ornamental cherry tree in Town Hall Square in 2020 to signify the importance of our children in care feeling rooted in Reading, even if they have to move away from the town due to the shortage of local foster carers.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “Our wonderful foster carers are special people and this wildflower area in Forbury Gardens will act as a living celebration of their vital work.

“The wildflowers also symbolise the variety and difference of our foster carers and of children in care and we wanted to recognise and celebrate this.

“Sadly, we do not have enough local foster carers in Reading which means some children and young people in our care have to live outside their home town.

“I would urge anyone who has thought about foster caring, or who would like to find out more, to contact our Fostering team at Brighter Futures for Children.”

The Fostering team can be contacted by telephone on 0118 469 3020, by email at: foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org or via the website at: https://www.readingfostering.co.uk/.

Cllr Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “I would like to thank our amazing foster carers for all they do for children and young people in Reading. The dedication of a wildflower area in the treasured Forbury Gardens is a beautiful way of showing the town’s appreciation to them for everything that they do.

“Foster carers are always there for children when they are most in need; they deserve our recognition and thanks every day of the year. Foster Carer’ Fortnight provides us with a focal point to show that, but we have to go beyond that in making sure that they always feel valued and I hope this wildflower area will be an enduring symbol of that commitment.”

Foster carer Dimple Gillausseyn, Chair of Reading Carers’ Link, said: “Fostering can be a challenging but always rewarding experience and I am sure Reading’s foster carers will appreciate the dedication of this wildflower area in the Forbury Gardens.

“As well as acting as a constant tribute to existing foster carers, I hope it might also prompt people to think about fostering themselves.  We would love to welcome more Reading adults to our fostering family and keep local children in care close to their family and friends.”

Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness campaign, delivered by The Fostering Network and supported every year by BFfC. We have 250 children and young people in our care and always need more local foster carers so we can keep them in Reading. Our Fostering team have been out and about in the community to spread the word and answer questions about fostering.

The next event will be at the Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading on 23 May, 2-4pm.

Anyone who cannot make that date but are interested in finding out more about fostering, can join an informal online talk on Wednesday 24 May, 6-7pm. Email: foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org to register.

Call 0118 469 3020 for a no-obligation chat or visit https://www.readingfostering.co.uk/ to discover more.


  • Rooted in Reading – The idea of planting a tree in Reading town centre for children in care came from Nick, who was 15 at the time, and was having to move away. He believed it would help him and others like him feel ‘rooted’ in the town. BFfC collaborated with Reading Borough Council, Ethical Reading and Reading Tree Wardens to plant the ornamental cherry tree outside Reading Town Hall in February 2020.