Break are delighted to announce that MENTA has chosen Break as its charity partner for 2019.
MENTA is a multi-award winning not-for-profit company – not a membership
organisation. They provide business advice, business skills training, bespoke business courses and networking opportunities. Their services help grow your business.
MENTA has invited Break to its networking events, Coffee Means Business in Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill during the year and the charity will exhibit at the MENTA Business Show on Tuesday 1st October at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.
CEO of MENTA, Alex Till said, “I’m delighted MENTA will be partnering with Break during 2019. They are providing vital services and support to those who really need it.”
Michael Rooney, Head of Commercial Services at Break said, “We are thrilled to be working with MENTA as their charity partner for 2019. We look forward to raising awareness of how businesses, their staff and individuals can make a difference to vulnerable children’s lives by volunteering and fundraising for Break.”
Karen and John have fostered for Team Fostering in the East Midlands for almost 4 years, and shared their fostering journey with us...
"Fostering was something that we thought about doing over 20 years ago, but with our own children we wanted to spend time bringing them up before starting our journey as foster carers.
We loved raising our family and we wanted to share the safety, love, respect and guidance that we had together with a child or young person who hadn’t had that in their own life. Basically, we wanted to make a difference.
During our time as a fostering family we have learnt so much about ourselves. It’s made us realise how strong and grounded we are as a team and the tight bond that we share. Sharing this with a child and bringing them into a family that cares about them and wants them to succeed is so rewarding and has developed us as a family and individually. It’s brought out qualities that we didn’t realise we had.
The role is just amazing. We feel so humbled in our journey to date. For young people to come into your home nervous, anxious and uncertain and for you to see them grow in confidence, self-worth and self-belief is beyond words.
We are really happy with Team Fostering as an agency. From our first point of contact when we first enquired about becoming foster carers we received openness, honesty and respect. There wasn’t any pushiness or intense pressure to recruit us, we were able to ask our questions, hear the information and then allowed to step back and form our own opinions and conclusion. The staff we spoke to were knowledgeable and professional, reassuring us that no questions were silly questions. Now we’re approved and working with the agency, we really feel like part of a team. A team whose aims and objectives are to meet the needs of each and every child. We're so happy we chose to foster with Team.
Our advice to those considering fostering would be that it’s not something to rush into and it’s important to speak with Team Fostering about how the role will impact your life. Consider those around you and how they might feel about it, particularly if you have your own children. It’s such a rewarding role but not without some challenges, however the agency supports you through these times.
Fostering suits us, we love the lifestyle and looking after our young person and the rest of our family full time. We have more time to invest to the young person in our care which means we can help them with all parts of his life. Having time to listen, guide and support him to make positive life choices and develop his skills is wonderful and we’re so glad we began our journey with Team."
We're on the lookout for foster carers across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands.
Whether you have some fostering experience or are completely new to the role we offer innovate training, comprehensive support and competitive fees to help you flourish in your role.
For an informal chat about fostering, our agency and how you could become a foster carer, you can speak with us in the following ways:
Complete our online enquiry form here
Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Olympians Daley Thompson CBE and Snowy Brooks joined Barnardo’s Vice President Baroness Floella Benjamin and more than 20 runners for a training session preparing them for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The event at Battersea Park’s Millennium Arena, was held by Barnardo’s to thank participating runners for their support, offer fundraising advice and give them a chance to meet their fellow Barnardo’s teammates before the big race on April 28th.
The runners were put through their paces with Olympians Daley and Snowy while Baroness Benjamin gave a motivational speech and essential running advice and tips.
Double Olympic gold medallist Daley said:
"The training day showcased the runners’ spirit and determination to raise money for the vulnerable children and young people our services support, which will stand them in good stead on the day of the London Marathon.
Barnardo’s is a wonderful charity to raise money for and I wish every single runner good luck on the day. We know you can do it."
Former Barnardo’s boy Snowy, who represented Barbados in the 1972 Olympics in the decathlon, said:
"The London Marathon is a mental and physical test of endurance. To achieve it they will not only be taking part in an incredible event but raising money for a brilliant charity.
“I was really impressed by the runners taking part, they all did really well and I send them best wishes for the big day."
Actress and Barnardo’s Vice President Baroness Floella Benjamin, who has run 10 London Marathons for the children’s charity, said:
"The runners have a big challenge ahead of them but with every mile they conquer and every pound they raise they will be making a huge difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.
We will all be cheering you on – good luck, we know you will be brilliant and keep smiling because winners smile."
One of the amazing runners to take part in the training day was Pauline Jones who lives in Greenwich. Pauline signed up for the London Marathon after her church raised money for Barnardo’s at Christmas with a series of carol concerts.
Pauline, 70, said:
“At the time I was increasing my own running distance which was just for personal enjoyment, but I thought maybe I could turn that into further fundraising for Barnardo’s.
I had learnt a little bit more about what the charity does these days to support children and young people and I was really impressed and inspired.
This will be my first marathon. I have always loved running outside and if running is your thing and you find it really enjoyable then you should definitely give it a go.
At the end of the day, it’s not about completing the race in the shortest possible time; it’s about reaching the finish line. I have been able to increase my distance by exploring the Thames path in both directions from where I live in Greenwich. Slowly but steadily my training is coming along."
With last year’s race raising £295,000 the charity is hopeful that as many people as possible will dig deep and donate to help vulnerable children across the UK.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
"I would like to say good luck and a huge thank you to everyone running the London Marathon for Barnardo’s.
The funds you raise will go towards our frontline services, which support some of the most vulnerable children and families across the UK. We couldn’t do this vital work without the generosity of supporters like you."
Sue Jennings joined our organisation on 3rd February 2014 as an Administrator for our West Midlands team. Initially joining us at our Droitwich office, Sue has been a part of our office move to Bromsgrove as well as the continued growth of staff, carers and children in our Midlands region.
On Sunday 3rd February 2019, Sue will be celebrating her 5 year CFT anniversary with us. As Sunday is a non-working day for Sue, we caught up with her in advance to find out how she is feeling reaching this incredible milestone!
How are you feeling having reached 5 years at CFT?
“I feel as though I have really accomplished something. It doesn’t feel like 5 years have passed since I joined The CFT, the years have really gone by very quickly. You know what they say… time really flies when you are having fun!”
What initially attracted you to the organisation?
“Before I joined the organisation I used to work as a School Secretary in a Primary School and so I was already passionate about working with children. I chose to apply for the position at The CFT as the charitable status really appealed to me and I didn’t want to work for a profit company. I knew that working for a fostering organisation meant that every day would be different and there would be a new challenge around every corner.”
When you joined The CFT, what did you hope you would achieve and do you feel you have done this during your time with us?
“I wanted to help the team make a difference in children’s lives and make their lives better. I feel like I have achieved that and I feel that as a team we have grown and do our very best to help the children in our care.”
Do you have any ‘stand out’ memories from your time with us?
“I don’t think I have one particular stand-out memory, the whole time has been interesting and different. I especially enjoy doing the family event and seeing the children growing. As an administrator for the organisation I don’t always get to see the families or children on a regular basis even though I hear lots about what is going on. When it comes to our regional parties that take place over the year, I’m always amazed to see how much the children have grown in not only age, but also in confidence and enjoy seeing them having fun.”
What will you be doing to celebrate your 5 year anniversary?
“I think I will celebrate with the team and reflect on my time with the organisation.”
How would you like to see the organisation progress in the next 5 years?
“I hope that The CFT will be able to carry on doing the work that we are doing and helping more children. I hope that we see more children placed within the right foster families and see more young people through to adulthood and independence and do well for themselves in their adult lives.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“My favourite part of working for the organisation is being part of a team who feel like family. I’d just like to thank my colleagues, the carers and The CFT for the support and kindness you have shown me over the years, it really means such a lot.”
We would like to thank Sue for all of her hard work and commitment to the organisation over the past 5 years. We would also like to thank her for her friendly and smiling face which is such a pleasure to have in our offices! Congratulations on this fantastic achievement Sue!
We mark occasion today as we approved our first ever foster family on the 31st January 2001, a couple living in the North East. We’re delighted that 18 years on, Allison and Garry are still with the agency and have never looked back. The world of fostering has undoubtedly changed over the past 18 years, but Allison and Garry have remained dedicated to their role and to Team Fostering as their chosen agency.
Team Fostering was set up in 2001 by Walter Young who remains a Non-Executive Director and Peter Richardson who sadly passed away in 2009. The aim of the agency was to operate as an independent agency that would always put children before profit and would have children’s futures at the very heart of everything it did. This appealed to Allison and Garry who became our first foster carers.
‘We never thought the agency would become as big’ says Allison, ‘Team began as a small group with big dreams to provide quality care to children and young people as a not-for-profit agency. Fostering has continued to change since the agency began and Team have adapted during the years to take on those changes but still provide the best possible service to the children.
‘I recall a child’s Social Worker once saying that Christmas had come early for the young person because they had been placed with a Team Fostering carer.’
During their career Allison and Gary have looked after many young people, ‘We have so many memories of children we have fostered over the years whose uniqueness always leaves a place in our hearts’ Allison explains. ‘We received a message from a young person we fostered many years earlier thanking us for all we did for her and that her life was all the better for the time with us.’
Team Fostering is dedicated to recruiting foster carers and staff who really believe in putting children’s futures first, and this shared belief is what really unites the agency. Our foster carers are truly remarkable and Allison and Garry reflect on this. ‘We would never be the carers we are today without the support of our fellow foster carers, who laugh with us and cry with us. We also recall many times when our Supervising Social Workers have gone above and beyond for the children and remained consistent.’
From relatively small beginnings our agency now runs from 5 offices across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. We continue to work with an exceptional group of foster carers to make sure that children's futures are at the very heart of everything we do.
Jane Butler, our CEO who joined Team Fostering in 2017, has commented: “What a privilege it has been to join such a positive and high quality fostering agency. The agency really does work as a team with staff and carers dedicated to getting things as right as we can for children and young people. Their commitment shines through to always seek to improve and be the best that we can.”
Many of our foster carers have been with the agency for a long period of time, with Allison and Garry not the only family that have been here since the very beginning. We are so proud to work with these families who continue to dedicate their lives to changing the lives of children and young people. We pride ourselves on being an agency that offers foster carers a great deal of support, training and benefits, and we think this conversation with Allison and Gary speaks volumes.
If you'd like to speak with us about starting your career in fostering, or transferring to us from another agency, you can reach us in the following ways:
Complete our online enquiry form here
Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
Email us via email@example.com
Making the decision to pursue a career in fostering is one that takes a lot of thought. Once you’ve decided to enquire about the role, the next step is finding the agency that’s right for you.
So, what are the top things to consider when looking at agencies?
1) Are they clear about the support they offer?
Ask about the support the agency offers. How long have the staff team been in place? Is the agency happy to provide you with current foster carer details so you can get a direct overview of life at the agency first-hand?
Team Fostering ensures that foster carers are supported by local staff, with a low staff turnover and with out of hours’ workers getting to know all foster carers. In our recruitment process we offer you contact details of some of our current foster carers, so you can gain an honest overview of the support at Team directly from them. You can read more about our support, fees and benefits here.
2) Read their Ofsted reports
Most agencies will share their Ofsted reports with you on their websites. If they don’t, you will be able to locate reports yourself on Ofsted’s website. Read them in detail, recognise the positive comments and consider how Ofsted perceive the agency as a whole, what local authority social workers have said about their staff and how foster carers report on life with the agency.
Team Fostering was rated Oustanding (North East November 2018) and Good (Yorkshire and East Midlands March 2018), and our Ofsted reports are available to read on our website here. We’re very proud of them, and we encourage you to read them if you’re considering our agency.
3) Look at their social media pages
Current foster carers likely follow their agency’s social media accounts. Does it seem like the agency operates with a true sense of community? Has its current foster carers left Facebook reviews or comments on posts? Are pictures of staff visible or does everything look a little bit like a collage of royalty-free photos?
Our foster carers and staff are very active on social media and this is visible on our accounts. You can look at our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
4) Read between the lines
Is their website upfront about the types of fostering on offer? Do they explain fees and allowances in a clear and honest fashion?
Our fees and allowances are available on our website and we have a whole page dedicated to the types of children and young people we work with (click here to view). We are regularly adding to our website to ensure that all prospective foster carers are provided with a transparent overview of the agency. New pages currently being worked on include ‘The History of Team Fostering,’ 'Our Relationship with Local Authorities' and 'A Day in the Life of a Foster Carer'.
5) Consider how important it is to you that the agency operates in an ethical way
Many prospective foster carers might not know that there are some agencies that make an enormous profit from placing children in care.
Before I worked in this sector, I assumed all fostering agencies would be non-profit, which isn't the case. Luckily, I work here at Team Fostering, a truly ethical not-for-profit agency that invests all surplus into putting children’s futures first. Our staff and foster carers value this ethical approach to fostering immensely, and I’m so proud to be part of an agency like ours. If you believe that giving children the best start in life is more important than profit, you’re far better off approaching a not-for-profit agency. These agencies are able to offer the fees, support and training that for-profit agencies do, and far more! Read more about our support by clicking here.
6) What is your gut instinct telling you?
You’ll know within minutes of looking at a website, a social media channel or an article whether you think an agency is putting children’s futures first.
Speak with the agency on the phone and consider the way their staff speak to you. Are they quick at answering your queries? Are they polite? Fostering is an amazing role and it’s important that, if you start a fostering journey, you do it with an agency that you’d like to call home.
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency operating across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands.
You can enquire with us about becoming a foster carer in the following ways:
Complete our online enquiry form here
Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org
The life skills team has been working hard over the last year to make sure young people at St Christopher’s have the right skills and AQAs to help them reach their goals.
When we talk about preparing young people for independence, what we are really doing is supporting them to be interdependent, feel good about themselves, and have the confidence and strength to keep going whilst asking for help when they need to. We are not just preparing them for a specific transition – we are preparing them for life and all the changes and bumps in the road that come with it.
In 2018 young people across the organisation completed 422 AQAs. Because young people are staying in placement for longer, we can work with them for a more extended period of time and support them to engage in more meaningful AQAs that take longer to complete but offer a bigger sense of achievement at the end.
As part of our strategic commitment to improving emotional wellbeing, the team have been making sure young people understand mental health, self-esteem and stress management. Young people and staff said they felt unskilled in this area, so workshops have been delivered to both of them alongside each other as equals.
There have been more than 200 sporting activities including football, swimming, boxing, gym, badminton, yoga and the annual St Christopher’s sports day, which also contribute towards improved emotional wellbeing. Other relevant awards in this area include 32 health and wellbeing sessions and more than 50 creative activity sessions to help young people relax and have fun.
Through our Staying Close pilot, which supports young people with our third strategic aim of lifelong learning and thriving, the life skills team co-created a new transitions programme with young people to support them with practical aspects of preparing to move into their own home. One young person has completed this and is now successfully living independently, and nine others are about to start their journey on the programme.
Other achievements relating to lifelong learning and thriving include 21 tenancy and home sessions, 28 money, budgeting and debt management certificates, and more than 50 employability skills sessions including assertiveness and work experience opportunities.
Other achievements include six sessions on drug and alcohol use, eight human rights and democracy sessions, 16 equality and diversity sessions, and more than 200 cooking activities.
However, these achievements from young people would not be possible without the hard work of our staff. The life skills team made changes to better support staff in running AQA sessions, like providing training as part of the introductory training course. There are now 85 AQAs in the catalogue so that staff can deliver one-to-one and group sessions, and there are life skills workbooks for fostering, children’s homes and care leaver services.
The Peacock Charitable Trust provide £10,000 per year to St Christopher’s, which contributes towards salaries for the life skills and participation team. Without them, all of this work would not be possible, so we want to say a huge thank you for their continued support.
Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley said: “Our young people have achieved so much in 2018 and it definitely deserves to be celebrated. Well done to everyone for these brilliant accomplishments – I cannot wait to keep creating brighter futures in 2019!”
For over 50 years Break has been working tirelessly to help young people in care and moving on, children with disabilities, families in need of support and children at risk.
Hilary Richards Break’s CEO said “As Break continues to grow and diversify to meet changing needs, this is the perfect time for us to recruit. We are looking for a variety of Trustees that want to help improve the lives of young people in our community. We look forward to welcoming our new Trustees who will join our experienced skilled managers and longstanding Board.”
Frank Shippam, one of Break’s Trustees said “Being a Break Trustee has been a fascinating, challenging and hugely rewarding experience for me. I have learnt many lessons from the charity’s employees and fellow Trustees and am proud that I have made a contribution to the brilliant work Break undertakes in changing young lives.”
Break welcomes CV applications from individuals with strategic and clear thinking skills, the ambition and dedication to drive Break forward, and ability to contribute effectively as part of a team and with innovative ideas.
The Trustee positions are on a voluntary basis with appropriate expenses reimbursed. For further details or to view the full job description visit
To find out more about becoming a Trustee email Sally Butler for an applicant pack email@example.com
The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 18th February 2019. Interviews will take place on Thursday 7th March 2019.
It’s one of the toughest jobs around and there are millions who do it uncomplainingly day in, day out.
You would think being a full-time mum was enough but one in Derby is calling on others like her in the area to consider becoming foster carers.
In other words, welcoming foster children into their own households.
According to Debbie Smith, it’s beneficial not only for the foster carer or parent, but for the children too.
Debbie only started fostering a year ago after a wide variety of careers, ranging from being a prison instructor to running a bar and restaurant in Spain.
But she said her current role as foster carer to two siblings, aged seven and 15, has proved to be the most rewarding so far.
Debbie said: “It’s the hugs and thank yous you receive when you least expect them.
“Fostering is a 24/7 commitment, but I don’t get the same type of stress which came with previous jobs I’ve worked in. It has enhanced my life, and best of all it has allowed me to be a kid again.”
Debbie first looked into fostering after deciding she needed a change of career. Having always enjoyed being around children, and being the mum of two daughters, fostering seemed like a good fit for her.
She contacted fostering and adoption charity TACT and, with its help and advice, she passed the intensive assessment process and finally became an approved foster carer in 2017.
In early 2018 the siblings were placed with her.
As well as her two foster children, Debbie has her own teenage daughter living at home, so she has to divide her time between them.
She said: "I did have some reservations when first looking into fostering, relating to the impact it would have on my daughter – having teenagers in the house gave me particular concern.
“However, TACT have made it clear that we are never under any obligation to take a placement if we decide it’s not the best fit for us, and between myself and TACT we put high importance on matching to make sure the placement will be beneficial for me, my daughter and the young people I’m caring for.”
Debbie feels that her daughter is learning some important life lessons as a result of being part of a family that fosters.
She said: “Overall, my daughter has enjoyed her experience of growing up in a fostering household, and although it is sometimes difficult for her sharing mummy, I think the experience has made her more caring and understanding of the world around her.”
And being part of a happy, blended family has had positive repercussions for her foster children too. Debbie said: “I think their experience of growing up in a household like mine with my daughter has enabled them to see what it’s like to live as part of a positive, loving family where they are helped and encouraged.
“They’ve witnessed routines and social norms and experienced an organised rather than a chaotic life, learning about what is expected of them and what is acceptable.”
In terms of professional support, TACT provides lots of training which Debbie has taken full advantage of, and there are also monthly support groups.
TACT staff are always available.
Overall, Debbie feels that she made the right decision to become a foster carer.
The said: “While fostering has at times been challenging I think overall the positive change I’m bringing about to these young people who have had a difficult start in life makes it all worth it. It’s nice to be able to devote all my time and attention between the young people I care for and my own family, allowing me to be a full-time mum and carer.”
“I’d encourage anyone who has reservations about fostering due to having their birth children in the household to go for it – the matching process between your family and the young people is important, but once it’s made well, your children and the foster children can have such a positive effect on one another.”
There is currently a need for 500 more foster families in the East Midlands. TACT says it is “more than just a fostering agency; as a charity we put children at the heart of everything that we do and all of our surplus income goes back into services for our carers and the children that they look after”.
We are thrilled to announce that a video featuring TACT ambassador Solomon O.B. performing his new poem Raising Celebration has made it onto the shortlist for the Charity Film Awards! These prestigious awards have been created to celebrate the success of film in fundraising, to increase exposure of charity films and to encourage donations for good causes.
Thank you to everyone who has supported TACT in the public voting round.
Shortlisted films will be now judged by a panel of judges who will select the finalists in March.
Solomon O.B – 25 Years of TACT Fostering & Adoption
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