Controversial Merton fostering campaign poster divides public opinion


A fostering campaign from Merton Council is causing controversy as some passersby are branding it inappropriate.


By Gemma Ellis

A fostering campaign from Merton Council is causing controversy as some passersby are branding it inappropriate.

The advert, which appears several times along the Broadway, Wimbledon, is said to send out the wrong message to potential foster parents with its double entendre.

The advert reads ‘Now, no one can beat me’ and features an image of child wearing boxing gloves (pictured).

“It’s extremely inappropriate, it looks like its not taking child abuse very seriously at all. It undermines the importance of fostering completely,” said Adam Scott, father of two, Wimbledon.

Eda Gjurra, 27, Morden, said: “It’s not very clear to read or to know what the advert is about. I had to really read to know it is about fostering, it should have a picture of a parent hugging a child instead.”

Merton Council said the intention of the advert was not to make people uncomfortable but was designed to be thought-provoking.

“Whether using a strong image or a play on words we needed to ensure the advert gets people looking,” said Emma Henderson, Senior Communications Officer at Merton Council.

“Unfortunately many of Merton’s looked after children have experienced abuse and we wanted to highlight that removing them from this sort of environment and placing them with a foster family can enable them to thrive and develop in a positive way.”

Not everyone passing by thought the advert offensive though. David Gugh, 51, Wimbledon, said: “It is striking but I didn’t instantly get the massage about fostering. I think it is appropriate though.”

One resident suggested it represented strength.

However some remain unconvinced of such shock tactics and maintain that the advert would send out a stronger message had the council focused on the positive rewards of fostering.

Anna Tabrah, 22, Wimbledon, said it was making light of an extremely serious situation and called into question the message of the advert.

Others such as Victoria Truran, 29, Wimbledon simply said that the message was wrong.

Ms Henderson said the advert has since been discussed at length and the council always takes into consideration Merton’s concerns. 

The advert will remain on the streets as part of Fostering Fortnight and will continue to be used.

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