Capstone (North) held the first ‘Boys Group’ session in Barnsley with the help of the BRV project. The BRV (Belonging, Resilience, Vocabulary) Project works with a group of young men and boys in Barnsley to help them achieve a sense of belonging, resilience and improved understanding of themselves.The BRV Project

The project is a 12-week programme, over 2-hour weekly sessions and it seeks to address inequality and disadvantages by utilising new learning in context with a growing sense of self-worth and resilience. Enabling boys to become the owners of their emotions and advocates for their own lives.

Through group workshops, art and photography sessions, the boys and young men will explore and enrich their emotional intelligence.

5 of our young people attended their first session at the Toby Carvery, Rotherham. The initial meeting focused on enabling the young people participating to get to know each other a little better, and to introduce Marcus from the BRV Project. By introducing Marcus during the first session it allowed him to discuss the work that was involved with the young people and give the boys participating in the group a choice of what they would like the sessions to include and some say in how it is delivered.

Some of the young people participating had already met each other at various social activities etc., but for others it was their first time meeting others and were understandably a little unsure and nervous. Some of the boys were quite energetic and animated, talking freely with all the participants and staff. A few where a little more reserved and did not particularly initiate conversation at first. The group of five boys were quite keen to go and get something to eat and drink and were quite happy to go up to the Carvery as a group and chatted amongst themselves. Once back at the table, the conversation appeared to flow quite easily amongst the young people.

Marcus explained more about his role as part of the BRV project, and suggested different ways that the group could participate in the work that he delivers and different activities that they might like to get involved in. The group agreed that they would like to do creative activities, such as artwork, photography and creative writing. Marcus, Alison, social worker and Deborah the support worker for Barnsley facilitated the discussion and asked opinions of the young people to try and seek a common identity amongst the group.

Marcus asked the group what they felt was the most difficult about being a teenage boy. C answered readily, “coming out to your family and friends as gay and dealing with people’s attitudes around it”.

Marcus reassured him that sexuality is a very important part of identity and he would be looking at relationships and what it means. Marcus explained more about the different opportunities that he would like to the get the group involved in such as activity days in the Peak District.

Towards the end of the meal the group were chatting animatedly, appearing to be getting on reasonably well and all appeared enthusiastic to carry on with the lad’s group.

We’re looking forward to the next time the group meets up.

Rotherham Virtual SchoolThe Barnsley carers were recently visited by Peter D, the Virtual School Headteacher for Secondary and Post 16 in Rotherham at a recent support group meeting.

He spoke to a group of around 14 carers and staff about how the Virtual School aims to support young people and their schools. Carers had the chance to ask questions on topics like PEP meetings, Pupil Premium Plus, unofficial exclusions and behaviour. Peter said that the Virtual School is often unaware of issues unless carers tell them and it was important to let him know.

Virtual School Rotherham exists to support the educational progress and achievement of looked after children, wherever they live. Children do not ‘attend’ the Virtual School, and they do not have a school building; looked after children remain the responsibility of the schools that they attend.

Rotherham Virtual School are proactive in trying to discover what works for their 650 young people and how any problems that exist can be overcome. They use a portion of the Pupil Premium Plus money to help fund a range of support such as training school staff.

Ofsted confirm Capstone Foster Care (North) have been awarded outstanding at their recent inspection.

Staff at Capstone Foster Care based in the North of England are celebrating today after Ofsted rated the independent fostering agency ‘Outstanding’.

Ofsted have deemed the agency as outstanding for a number of reasons and inspectors acknowledged, “The lives of fostered children and young people are significantly enhanced by the work of this agency. It helps to achieve excellent outcomes for them and enables them to make exceptional progress in most areas of their lives.”

The inspectors also praised the staff, “The management of the agency has developed a highly motivated, enthusiastic and energetic group of staff, who are ambitious for the children and young people.”

Children and young people had their say too, about their experiences with their carers with one saying, “I know I always have someone to talk to. My carers are great. They’ve given me a voice and I am now more able to talk about things that worry me.”

Connie Robertson-Gurie who spoke with the Ofsted inspectors during the inspection said, “It’s absolutely brilliant that Capstone Foster Care (North) have been given an outstanding rating. I can’t fault the support and training I have had from the team and as a young foster carer it’s been great to feel like part of the family.”

The report, which followed a five-day inspection carried out in February noted that, “There is strong, competent and effective leadership at all levels within the agency.”

Capstone Foster Care have been assessed on three inspection judgements, and received a rating of Outstanding against all three:

  • Overall experiences and progress of children and young people
  • How well children and young people are helped and protected
  • The effectiveness of leaders and managers

Catherine Lockett said, “I am delighted that Ofsted have recognised all the excellent work undertaken by all our staff and carers. There are many comments I am pleased with but to hear inspectors say that Capstone Foster Care (North) achieve excellent outcomes for our children and young people confirm that we are building brighter futures.”

Capstone Foster Care recruits, assesses and supports foster carers to provide a range of long- and short-term placements for children and young people on behalf of the local authorities who commission its services.

As a country, we need more than 6,800 foster carers in the next 12 months. There are currently record numbers of children in care, and around 13% of foster carer workforce are retiring or leaving every year (source: Fostering Network). Becoming a foster carer, or a foster family, is becoming increasingly more important to cope with the high demand of children and young people who get placed into care, often from a young age.

There are 14,070 looked after Children in the North West and 8,190 in Yorkshire and Humber – the two areas which are covered by Capstone Foster Care (North) division and each week, the Capstone Foster Care teams based in Heywood, Barnsley and Bradford receive up to 300 referrals for children and young people needing foster homes.

About Capstone Foster Care

Capstone Foster Care is an independent fostering agency with offices and hundreds of carers across England who are available to help foster children build brighter futures.

At the time of this inspection, the North based agency provided placements to around 155 children in 120 fostering households.

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