By Steve Elliff, Education and Support Service Manager
"Where did September go? Now we’re fully embraced in Autumnal weather and darker evenings, we’ve been reflecting on the many good times we’ve had this summer at Team Fostering, looking a little closer at the importance of year-round opportunities on offer to fostering families, children and young people.
At Team Fostering we have a dedicated ‘Education and Support Service’ that offers education-led support alongside activities, trips and holidays. The package provided embraces the fact that learning doesn’t end in the classroom, with personal and social development key areas that help young people succeed in life.
In fact, our annual caravan holiday couldn’t be any further away from a day in a classroom, instead offering a fun and active week for children to play, explore, learn and develop. This year, our Yorkshire and East Midlands region spent a week in Filey, on a holiday jam-packed with activities and events. This ranged from night-time walks and surfing lessons at Clayton Bay through to a ‘Team Day’, rounders and a picnic at Sewerby Hall. Planning a holiday for 150 people (foster carers, family members, children and staff) takes quite some time, but is so valuable to the agency as we watch young people make new friends and try new things, building their confidence and developing their independence. The holiday embraces everything about our mission statement; ‘Putting Children’s Futures First’.
The annual holiday begins with a meet and greet for children, foster carers and staff to get to know one another, with children quickly making friends and families subsequently flurrying to book onto activities together to allow these friendships to develop. A small staff group attend, who are on call to keep things running smoothly and offer support. Team Fostering, as a child-focused organisation, encourages staff to bring their own family on the holiday, and this further helps in bringing everyone closer together.
This year’s holiday felt extra-special. While we always receive very positive feedback from all attendees, this year we were pleased to hear that new carers found the holiday formed an important part of their induction year. Coming along to spend time together had enabled them to meet other carers that they can now approach for support and advice. This is fantastic, as we understand some newly approved foster carers can feel anxious about ‘fitting in’. Several carers whose children and young people became friends during the holiday have taken the opportunity to arrange future meet-ups so that their children can spend time with their new friends, and that is incredible.
We’re very lucky to work alongside such fantastic foster carers, who together with their families and support networks look after incredible children and young people. Thank you to all who attended our Filey holiday, and… roll on next year!"
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