Big Day Out at the Zoo


Pandas and penguins at Edinburgh Zoo were joined by around 250 foster carers and fostered children on Sunday 15 November at The Fostering Network Scotland’s Big Day Out.

The event was organised to celebrate the work of foster carers after a successful first 12-months of the Fostering Community Champions project. The day was an opportunity for the fostering community from throughout Scotland to make new connections, learn more about the project and The Fostering Network, and most importantly have some fun.

Children and adults, alike, donned animal masks and fancy dress as they visited pandas, penguins and chimps as well as a whole host of other cuddly creatures.

Workshops on contact and staying safe online were also available in addition to activities such as first aid demonstrations, face painting and book bug sessions.

Letter from the minister

Aileen Campbell, the minister for children and young people in Scotland, has thanked all those attending the event in a letter to The fostering Network.

Ms Campbell sent the correspondence as she was unable to attend the event to thank everyone in person.

In the letter she said: 'Thank you so much for the positive impact you are all having in the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Scotland.

‘I really hope that you all have an enjoyable and rewarding day, meet some new people and take the opportunity to share experiences and learn from one another, as well of course have fun.’

She added: ‘I would especially like to say a big thank you to the new Fostering Champions as they make this added commitment to help improve the experience of other foster families.

'I'm sure I’ll get an opportunity to meet some of you at some point in the future and look forward to hearing more about the project as it unfolds.'

Director of The Fostering Network Scotland, Sara Lurie, said: ‘It was a tremendous occasion and a great way to celebrate the fantastic contribution that carers make to the lives of children and young people in care.

‘I was delighted to mark a successful first year of our Fostering Community Champions project with such a great turnout. I would like to say thank you to Edinburgh Zoo for hosting us and enabling foster carers, children and young people, from across the country, to come together in a fun and relaxed environment.’

The Fostering Community Champions project is an exciting four-year scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities programme, aiming to improve the outcomes of children in care by reducing the isolation experienced by many foster carers and helping young people to use their experience of foster care in a positive and meaningful way.