The Fostering Network’s Sons & Daughters campaign coordinator Catherine Holland has been speaking to Gemma from Stockton Borough Council about their participation in last year’s campaign.
Why did you take part in the Sons & Daughters campaign?
Stockton Council wanted to give something back to the sons and daughters of our foster carers to say thank you for everything that they do. We recognise the valuable contributions they are making to the community by supporting their parents to provide foster care. We know they offer support and friendship to our looked after children and most importantly they are fantastic role models for the children they help to foster.
Every single child in Stockton is important to us and we wanted to give our sons and daughters the opportunity to meet other children like them who foster, have some fun and try out some new sports activities. We also wanted to reassure them that they have the full support of Stockton Council’s Child Placement Team whenever they need it.
The event was also a great opportunity to generate some positive PR within the local media to raise awareness about the need for more foster carers in Stockton, as well as encouraging prospective foster carers to make an enquiry, who may have been put off from doing so if they had concerns about how fostering might impact on their birth children. The media coverage that we secured gave a positive insight on how fostering can benefit both birth children and looked after children and the rewards it can bring to families.
What did you do?
We took our sons and daughters to a local sports centre where they had the chance to try out trampolining with an instructor who taught them various jumps and tricks! They then spent the afternoon learning how to rock climb up a climbing wall, which gave them a tremendous amount of achievement reaching the top, as well as being cheered on by their fellow young foster carers! The day concluded with a classroom session led by a social worker from Stockton’s Child Placement Team where our young foster carers had the chance to talk about their experiences of fostering and any concerns they had, as well as entering The Fostering Network’s blogging competition, which involved writing a blog about what fostering meant to them. We submitted all blogs to The Fostering Network and also picked a winner ourselves who was awarded a Waterstones book voucher.
Who joined you on the day?
The day was organised and coordinated by the Fostering and Adoption Marketing and Recruitment Officer and was supported by two social workers, as well as staff from the sports centre and a number of parents who stayed for the day.
What about the day would you say was particularly great?
It was fantastic to see our young foster carers let their hair down and enjoy themselves with other children who share the same responsibility of fostering. They were all quite shy to begin with but once they’d laughed at each other falling around on the trampoline and being kitted out in their super safe climbing wall harnesses, by the end of the day they were best buddies! The classroom session also gave us an insight into their thoughts and feelings about fostering and how we can best support them moving forwards.
What will you be doing for this year's Sons & Daughters campaign?
This year we would like to try a different activity, which will of course be fun and exciting but an activity that allows the children to take away something they’ve created or produced, as a reminder of the day. We will also choose a different classroom activity, which will give us another insight into their thoughts and feelings. We will look for PR opportunities to support our recruitment activity, as well as opportunities to promote the activity across our social media channels.