In our Midlands region, we have a young person called R with moderate learning difficulties who is coming to the end of his first year studies at college. After being diagnosed with Autism from the age of 11, R has taken a keen interest in becoming a part of something bigger when it comes to raising awareness about Autism.

He applied and was selected to be given an amazing opportunity to join the National Autism Education Trust Panel, which is part of the Department for Education, in June 2019. Later the same month after attending just one panel meeting, he attended the National Autism Roadshow at London XL with his foster carer, Lynne. Alongside another young person with Autism, he gave top tips on how to support young people with neurological differences in front of hundreds of Educational professionals, standing confidently on the stage.

He says, “It was an amazing experience and opportunity to tell education providers our top tips for supporting students with Autism”. Lynne says “I was so proud of him being able to deliver the views of the panel in such a huge arena. He spoke clearly and with confidence.  He is an amazing young man”

Following on from this positive experience he has now been involved in planning for the National NHS Expo in Manchester in September, where he will assist in delivering a workshop around how to improve communication within the NHS between health providers and young people with autism and mental health issues. He has also ended his first academic year with another amazing achievement, by being awarded ‘Student of the Year’ on his course at his graduation.

Congratulations to you for all of your recent achievements, we are very proud of the role you have taken in advocating for others to ensure that everyone receives the same opportunities in life as they should. Another massive congratulation to our foster carers Lynne & Chris for their hard work, determination and the role-modelling that they have shown this young person. The role of an advocate has been so paramount that it has encouraged and motivated this young person to be the voice for others and for that we can only admire him and congratulate him on his recent successes. Well done!

A Final word from our young person, “I am loving the opportunities I have been given and it has been a great year for me.  In the future I am looking forward to even more opportunities to raise awareness about Autism as well as increasing my independence”

Capstone Midlands held their annual children’s summer event on the 2nd of August. The event took place at a local youth centre and the whole venue was hired for the day so that the children and families could enjoy all the activities that were on offer.

The day encouraged good old back-to-basics outdoor play with the skate park & bike park being some of the children’s favourite activities. We had some additional extras this year as we were visited by Nu Education who gave us a 3-hour workshop on graffiti art where the children got to practice graffiti writing on clothing, as well as music production, beatboxing and even rapping.

The day saw over 120 carers, staff and children gather for the day. The day began wet & windy day but that soon turned into lovely sunshine with a few clouds which meant the kids along with staff could make the most of the football pitch, skate ramps, bike park and basketball courts.

A bouncy castle, face painter and soft play were included in the activities for the younger children but we saw the children push themselves and show amazing bravery as they tackled the rock climbing wall and set themselves the challenge to ring the bell at the very top of the wall. Staff took on the same challenge cheered on by the kids and carers.

Sara’s message to the region was;

‘I had a ball catching up with you all and it makes me so proud to see how well behaved our children in the Capstone family are and how they threw themselves into the activities. I think you will agree some of the face paintings were works of art! My favourite bit was scootering on the skate park; although my knees reminded me the next day that I maybe should have spent a little less time there. Thanks to all of you for coming and making some wonderful memories with us. Also a big thank you to Ally and the team for organising an excellent event.

On Thursday 11th July 2019 our Team Manager Amy Callaghan from our Midlands team was invited along with three
fostering families to meet with FosterTalk & Fosterline and the local MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi.

It was a a fantastic opportunity for Amy and our foster families to discuss the benefits of FosterTalk and the Fosterline service and discuss the recruitment and retention of foster carers across the Midlands region. It’s great that organisations such as FosterTalk exist to support current fostering families and those that are considering fostering in the future.

Amy said “Its always nice to work with other organisations to promote fostering and we thank Foster Talk and Fosterline for the invitation and opportunity.”

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