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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 18th February 2019. Interviews will take place on Thursday 7th March 2019.
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
Member News: Barnardo's calls for more foster carers as number of children in care rises by 27 percent in a decade in England
More children are being taken into care with fewer foster carers to look after them, says Barnardo’s as it launches its 10th annual fostering campaign fronted by TOWIE’s Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas.
The number of children in care in England has risen by 27 per cent in the last 10 years, says the UK’s leading children’s charity as it urgently appeals for more people to consider fostering as part of its Barnardo’s Fostering Week 2019, which launches on January 21st.
In the past decade, Barnardo’s foster carers have looked after thousands of children, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future. However, the charity is concerned there are not enough suitable foster families to take care of the increasing numbers of vulnerable children in care.
Increasing child poverty, a lack of early intervention and support for families before they reach crisis point, and a heightened awareness of abuse and neglect are among the complex reasons more and more children and young people are being taken into care.
But figures from Ofsted show that the number of approved carers has dropped by 950 in just one year. If these trends continue it will become even more difficult to find good foster placements for vulnerable children.
Now, Barnardo’s is celebrating ten years since its first UK fostering campaign and the charity’s foster carers have welcomed vulnerable children into their families more than 8,288 times across the UK.
The charity’s celebrity fostering ambassadors Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas are fronting this year’s campaign calling for more people to step forward to take on this rewarding role to ensure that vulnerable children have a loving family to support them when they need it.
The mother and daughter from TV’s TOWIE have been a fostering family for more than 25 years for more than 250 children.
Debbie said: “Having a safe and caring family is so important when you are growing up. With so many more children coming into care, it’s so crucial that more people become foster carers. Knowing you can provide that loving family for a child when they need it most is so rewarding and can really help to transform their lives – and yours.”
Lydia added: “We have loved having foster children as part of our family; it is incredible to see the difference having a caring, supportive family can make. We are proud to play a part in helping them to have a happy childhood and positive future.”
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “As the number of children in care continues to rise, we need more foster carers than ever before. At Barnardo’s we find loving families for vulnerable children in communities across the UK, and we give foster carers the training and support they need.
“Being a foster carer can be a challenge but it’s also incredibly rewarding and gives children the love, care and life skills they need to build better and brighter futures.
“I want to thank all of our amazing foster carers for helping us transform children’s lives. And I would urge anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch to find out more. Incredible things happen when you believe in children.”
In England, on 31 March 2008, there were 59,370 children in care – 70 per cent of which were in foster care . By 31 March 2018, it had increased to 75,420– up by 27 per cent in a decade and with 73 per cent of those children living in foster care at that time. The number of children in foster care itself has increased by 31.4 per cent in a decade.
In contrast, the number of approved foster carers is decreasing, with the latest available figures from Ofsted showing that in England, as of 31 March 2017, this number reduced to 61,415, compared with 62,365 in March 2016. The reasons behind the decrease are complex and can include birth children living at home for longer and rising house prices meaning that prospective carers do not have the required spare room; and older foster carers are reaching retirement age while younger families are becoming increasingly responsible for their own parents care as they get older.
A continuation of these trends will mean it will become more difficult to find the best foster carers for vulnerable children when they most need a loving family. Carers need to have the right training and skills, live in the right location and be available at the right time for a child who is disabled, are siblings, older children, or from a religious or minority ethnic background.
This could mean children have to wait longer before finding the best match or that they may need to be moved to a different family several times because the most appropriate carer is not available, which can have a negative impact on a child.
One Barnardo’s carer who knows the difference a safe and stable foster family can make to a child’s life is Helen Elward, 62, from Rugby, who has provided specialist foster care for almost 40 children in the last eight years. They are often some of the most vulnerable in the care system - on bail or remand, or affected by child sexual exploitation - and stay with Helen for anything from a few days to several months.
Helen said: “Young people sometimes feel society has given up on them, so they give up on themselves. It’s amazing to see the difference you can make in such a short space of time.
“We can help them to completely transform their lives. They can talk about their problems if they want to, and we try to build their self-confidence and enable them to be the person they can be.
“They’ve gone on to university, established their own businesses and started families. Sometimes they just need someone to believe in them – perhaps they’ve never had that before.”
By Walter Young, Non-Executive Director
'There are many ways to constitute a company. It can be limited by share capital, limited by guarantee, a charity, a mutual, a community interest company or one of a number of other options. This might sound like a dry subject to write about but it’s crucial to us that we are transparent about the way in which we operate. Plus, it’s something that we are proud of and have recently strengthened.
When we set up Team Fostering, we were determined that there should be no shareholders, no payment of dividends and no bonuses. We felt that everyone working at the agency should be paid fairly for their work but that no-one should be able to sit back and watch the money roll in. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens in many other Independent Fostering Agencies, but that’s their business.
We were determined to do it in a way that fitted with our values and put children’s futures first. One option would have been to set up as a charity, but we didn’t want to do that. Charities have to have trustees (usually unpaid) and that would introduce the need for a group of volunteers who had the ultimate say over everything we did. At the time that didn’t feel right for us either.
After taking professional advice, we decided it should be a company limited by guarantee, in other words a not-for-profit private company that has guarantors rather than shareholders.
Every so often over the years we were challenged about this. Some people argued that although we were clearly not-for-profit now, it wouldn’t be that difficult to convert to being for-profit (as many agencies have), which would mean that the directors could make all of the agency’s assets their own. In practice, that could mean taking money and resources away from directly meeting children’s needs. Current and past members of the board have always known that we wouldn’t do that, but that’s not enough to future-proof Team’s not-for-profit status for new directors to come.
With that in mind, in 2018, we decided to take steps to ensure that Team Fostering would be protected from this type of takeover into perpetuity. The directors met with solicitors specialising in company law and agreed a set of measures that would make it almost impossible for anyone to seize the agency’s assets for their own personal gain. The agency’s constitution, referred to as its “Memorandum & Articles of Association” was amended and a member agreement was created that now safeguards Team Fostering into the future as an ethical, not-for-profit organisation.
Foster carers do something amazing when they welcome children into their lives. Yes, they are paid an allowance that enables them to look after those children, but essentially foster carers open their homes and hearts to children who need a family. No-one should make money by exploiting their generosity. We’ve always believed this and we’ve always attracted staff and foster carers who share this belief. That’s why the constitution of the company matters so much.
If you’re considering fostering, I would strongly recommend looking at not-for-profit agencies like Team Fostering. Not only can agencies like ours offer high levels of financial, emotional and educational support, but you’ll be able to flourish in your role knowing that we are not there to make money, but are there to help you to look after children in care as part of a stable, sustainable and forward thinking agency.'
If you’re interested in speaking to us, you can reach us in the following ways:
Send an online enquiry by clicking here
Speak with us on 0800 292 2003
Use our Live Chat facility
Email us via email@example.com
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