Owzat for foster parent campaign

CARE: Preston CC cricketer Graham Dobson talks about adoption and foster care at a city mosque

CARE: Preston CC cricketer Graham Dobson talks about adoption and foster care at a city mosque

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Cricketer Graham Dobson went in to bat for more than half a century of Asian children in desperate need of foster homes.

And the Preston CC player was bowled over by the reception he got when he visited a busy mosque to launch an appeal for carers.

Graham and his wife Pauline adopted a child 17 years ago and have been foster carers for the past five.

So, with his cricket links with the Asian community in the city, he was just the man to get the ball rolling on a campaign to recruit more foster parents across Lancashire.

“Sadly there is a chronic shortage of foster carers from the Asian community,” he explained.

“Yet there are around 53 Asian children in the care of Lancashire County Council at the moment looking for temporary homes.

“It’s not clear why this situation exists, but it could be that there is a degree of ignorance of the issue which needs addressing. There may be a misconception that the majority of children in the system are British.

“I thought with my connections through cricket it might be possible to get the message across by visiting a mosque. I play for Preston and every weekend I play in the same team as nine or 10 Muslim players.

“It was one of those players who got me an introduction with the mosque and they said I could go in and speak to an audience during Ramadan.”

Malcolm faced around 150 men at the Broadgate Mosque in Fishergate Hill. In his short talk, which was also relayed to around 40 women via a TV link, he told them about the acute shortfall in Asian families coming forward to look after children in care.

“It was really just to introduce them to the idea and they were very receptive, very positive about it,” he added.

“The reception we got was very warm, very welcoming and very friendly. Hopefully we can visit a few more mosques to pass the message on.”