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 Wednesday 17th July 2019, Sara, Ann Marie, James, Zara & Ally along with social workers Dan, Paula and Pamela all attended a carers lunch at the Tame Otter in Tamworth. The event was to celebrate some of our carer’s 5th year anniversary of fostering with Capstone and their social workers across the East & some of the West Midlands.
4 families attended in total and enjoyed a 3 course lunch along with a small award ceremony.
The carers were given flowers, a certificate and an award for their achievement along with a thank you for their commitment to the children they have, and have had in their care over the last 5 years.
Regional Director Sara said “We wanted to show our appreciation to our carers who have reached a milestone 5 years in their fostering journeys. It is important for them to know their efforts and contributions to the lives of our children and young people are appreciated and not over looked. They support us to be able to achieve what we want to as an independent foster agency which is to build brighter futures and without them we would not be able to do this”.
The families enjoyed the day, gave thanks to Zara for organising and said they had enjoyed the gathering and their gifts & awards of appreciation. Over the next 12 months additional families reaching this milestone will be celebrated and we look forward to seeing this.

Our wonderful foster carer Lynne Blencowe has written a guest blog for International Day of Happiness.

Happiness: a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

As a foster carer I usually experience many different emotions throughout the day, but no matter what the day has brought, I always like to end it on a positive note with the beautiful children who are part of our Chosen Family.

When I put the children to bed I always get them to say something specific and wonderful about themselves that has happened, or how they feel about themselves that day. This can be anything including, “I am really proud of myself as I got all of my spellings right”, “I am precious to you”, “I am beautiful and have beautiful skin.” I then tell them 5 positive things about themselves or what they have done that day. These might be, “I really loved that cup of coffee you made for me today – it was just what I wanted” or “Thank you for reading to me so beautifully today – I loved the expression you used – you are a great reader” or “You made me really laugh today when you told me that funny story of what happened at school”

To find 5 positive things to say to a child or young person when everything is going well is easy to do. What’s harder is finding those things when times are tough – but often that is when it is most important and meaningful. For me, I find it can be extremely useful in the prevention of Blocked Care which Dan Hughes and Jonathan Baylin describe in their book, “Brain based parenting” as:

Blocked Care (the stressed-out survival-based brain mode). Blocked care’ describes ‘how stress can suppress a well-meaning parent’s capacity to sustain loving feelings and empathy towards his or her child’. It stems from a need for self-protection and defensiveness and fosters a reactive style of parenting that is narrowly focussed on the immediate behaviour and most negative aspects of the child. In blocked care there is a tendency to overreact to a child’s nonverbal communication; nonverbal communications are processed faster than verbal communications and therefore blocks verbal communication. Blocked care has a tendency to be judgemental

Some young people, especially teenagers, in my experience, find it very difficult to accept praise, so on occasions I have shouted messages through the bedroom door at night – “By the way – I loved the way you did your hair in that up-do style” and I have received the response, “**** **”” but a few days later I have been asked, “Did you really like my hair the other day?” So – they are always listening and taking in what you say – even if they pretend not to!

If at all possible, the only way for me to end each and every day, particularly on the International Day of Happiness, is with positive and pleasant emotions both for myself and the children I love. Maybe give it a try?

Happy International Day of Happiness.


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