Emmerdale's Jay Kontzle opens up over childhood in heartfelt message

Emmerdale star Jay Kontzle has opened up about his childhood in a heartfelt message shared to social media.

The actor, who has played Billy Fletcher on the ITV soap since 2018, took to Instagram this week to encourage fans to back a campaign from the charity Kinship. The charity is "calling on MP candidates to commit to supporting kinship families" ahead of the General Election this July.

The actor shared how he grew up in a kinship family — which is when children are raised by relatives or family friends other than their parents — having been raised by his grandparents after his mum died when he was just four years old.

Related: Emmerdale - when will Samson and Josh be caught out?

"Right now, there are 141,000 children in England and Wales whose parents aren’t able to care for them, who are being raised by relatives or family friends, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings. This is called kinship care," Jay wrote in the post’s caption, below a sweet photo of him and his mother.

He then opened up about what his childhood was like, sharing: "As tough a start to life as that was, my grandparents sacrificed everything for me and gave me a wonderful, loving home to grow up in.

dawn taylor, billy fletcher, emmerdale

Related: Emmerdale Village Tour tickets and vouchers – how to buy as gifts

"There are more than twice the number of children growing up in kinship care than there are in foster care. But, unlike foster carers, most kinship families receive little or no support," he continued.

"Many families are at breaking point, and thousands of children are at risk of entering the care system, because of a lack of support for kinship carers to help them meet the needs of the children they’ve taken in."

Jay went on to explain how the General Election provides the public with an opportunity "to demand that politicians fix a system that is unfair and letting vulnerable children down".

His message concluded: "Kinship’s #ValueOurLove campaign is calling on MP candidates to commit to supporting kinship families. You can help, by adding your name to the campaign at the link in my bio. THANK YOU."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

You Might Also Like