Lights out across the Ribble Valley for foster care campaign

Sean Ruane with East Lancashire schools choir at the 1200 Light switch off last year.
Sean Ruane with East Lancashire schools choir at the 1200 Light switch off last year.

People across the Ribble Valley are being called on to switch off their lights for one minute on Thursday November 24th at 8-30 pm as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers in the region.

Children’s charity Child Action Northwest (CANW), which is based at Wilpshire, is hoping to turn the lights out right across the North West to symbolise the light and love missing from the lives of more than 1,200 children in care across the region.

CANW, which provides foster care, targeted youth support and emotional health services in the borough, is asking Ribble Valley residents to film themselves taking part in the event and post their videos on social media to show their support.

Statistics show that more than 1,200 new foster families are needed in the North West this year alone – more than in any other region in the country, and almost as many as Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East put together.

It’s hoped the campaign, which is being supported by some of the region’s best loved buildings and local churches including Blackburn Cathedral; St Laurence’s Church, Chorley; the Blackpool Tower; the dome of intuTrafford centre and the Liver Building, will encourage people to think about whether they could be a foster carer.

Sue Cotton, CEO of CANW, said: “Last year our 1,200 Lights campaign turned out the lights on some landmark buildings in the North West, and we’re delighted that many more, including Carlisle Cathedral, Bolton Football Club and the Port of Liverpool Building have agreed to join us for this year’s event.

“But we also want everyone at home to join in and turn out their lights for one minute to show their support. We’ve set up the hashtag #1200Lights on Twitter and Facebook, and are asking people to turn off their lights on November 24th to pledge their support. We’re hoping people will film their pledge and post the video on social media so we’ll be able to see the lights switch off right across the region.”

The lights switch off will coincide with the climax of a fundraising concert at Blackburn Cathedral, which will fall into darkness as the final note is sung.

The Bishop of Burnley and Acting Dean of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Philip North said: “Here at Blackburn Cathedral we are delighted to be supporting Child Action Northwest by turning out our lights to support their push to increase the number of foster carers.

“For second year running we are hosting CANW’s fundraising concert at the cathedral, as well as being one of the venues going dark for one minute. We wish them every success with their campaign.”

The 1,200 Lights concert, featuring opera singer Sean Ruane and school choirs from across East Lancashire, will be held at the cathedral from 6-30 to 8-30 pm on Thursday November 24th.

To buy tickets, priced at £5 and £2-50 for concessions, contact CANW on 01254 244700.

To find out more about how to join in the #1200lights switch off, visit http://www.canw.org.uk/about1200 and follow CANW on Twitter @TeamCANW or on Facebook at Child Action Northwest.