Capstone Foster Care News

Throughout November and December, our Midlands team were spreading the joy and goodwill as they made numerous trips to various charities to provide much needed support, using their staff volunteer days. This is often an exceptionally busy period for some charities leaving them needing as much support as possible from volunteers.

On Friday 13th and Tuesday 17th of December, the team went to Birmingham Central Food Bank to provide support to the team with organising donations destined for families in desperate need support over the Christmas period.

Luca, of Birmingham Central Food Bank, kindly welcomed Rebecca, Kirsty, Sunjay, Beth, Kelly and James and over the two days the team weighed, sorted and distributed over two tonnes of food that was generously donated by organisations and the public. The festive period always brings lots of donations which the foodbank is always grateful for, but this means that they are also in need of additional support to keep up with the influx of donations from the public.

Luca wrote to the team to say “I have no words to express my gratitude for the effort and passion that the team from Capstone put into those two volunteering days on the 13th and 17th of December. Apart from the great help and the amount of work that they got done, it was an absolute blast to see them in action, it was highly inspirational!!! Thank you so much again, you were incredible!”

The team enjoyed their time during the visit and said “It’s nice to help in the community and to see people’s generosity. It’s rewarding for us to be able to support and we had a great time.”

Capstone Foster Care’s ethos is ‘Building Brighter Futures’ and people often assume that this just applies to the children and young people placed in their care. This just isn’t the case.

My first experience of the fostering world was when I was 21 years old. I started as a Business Admin Apprentice for Real Fostering in June 2013. Real Fostering was a small independent fostering agency, which was acquired by Capstone Foster Care six months after I started. As a result, I found myself being employed by Capstone and eventually was successful in becoming the Panel Co-ordinator for the Midlands region working at the Kings Norton office.

I stayed in this role for the next three years and during this time, I started to consider my future career prospects and decided that I wanted to consider social work as my career path.

Being part of the panel and the influence of other social workers at Capstone motivated me to want to become a social worker. Listening to their experiences made me want to have more of a positive impact on young people’s lives.

At this point, I started to consider my options however, I still had a bit of work to do.  I didn’t have the qualifications required to get into University, so I looked into night school to get my Maths GCSE. For the next 12 months I attended class and passed my GCSE which then enabled me to apply for University in Worcester.

After passing my exams and being accepted into my chosen University I left Capstone in September 2016 to start my BA Honours Degree in Social Work. To gain additional experience before starting my degree Sara, the regional director for Capstone (Midlands) gave me the opportunity to shadow the social workers, attend meetings with looked after children, attend Pupil Education Plans, observe senior practitioners, offer support to carers and support with organising the children’s events.

Looking back now I feel really grateful to have been given these opportunities as it really helped me gain an insight. Transitioning into University I felt I had the confidence and knowledge about fostering that made me feel insightful when speaking about the foster carers roles with peers during group discussions.

During my degree I also took on a job at a local children’s home accommodating four children.  This was an opportunity for me to work with children directly and gain further insight from a child’s perspective. For me it was a real eye opening experience, especially when working with safeguarding issues. I felt it encouraged me to keep my perspective throughout the course as I had witnessed the affects that neglect and abuse can have on some children during infancy and impacting them as they grow older.

After three years of hard work and two placements in different teams, Young Carers and Safeguarding, I graduated from the University of Worcester in October 2019.  I am now a qualified and practicing social worker as part of a local authority safeguarding team.

My current role is to work with young people who are placed on a Child Protection or Child in Need plan.  My role is to offer the families I work with support, complete direct work with children and young people assessing risk and potential harm.

I feel appreciative of everything that Capstone has done for me in my life and my time with them. I feel the personal growth and journey I have had from when I first arrived at 21 years old to now has been unexpected and I feel the opportunities given to me by Capstone have supported me to achieve what I have up to now.

Being at Capstone and having the insight into the world of fostering encouraged me to believe in myself and motivated me to push myself to achieve more for myself to help others.

As well as giving thanks to Capstone, I will take some credit. I feel very proud of myself for persevering when I failed exams, did a full day at the office then went to night school for a further three hours. I have never really had a significant interest in anything career wise but my experience at Capstone as I went through my early 20’s motivated and encouraged me to want to do better for myself, and also the children entering the care system and in need of protection.

It’s become a tradition at Capstone North to visit the panto at Christmas. This year, 80 of over Heywood children and carers came together and attended the famous Oldham Coliseum. This theatre is renowned for pantomine and has been putting the extra sparkle into the festive season for generations, with all the ingredients for fantastic family fun: hit songs, silliness, a sprinkling of fairy dust and a generous helping of “It’s Behind You!”

This year’s panto was Jack and the Beanstalk – a true hit! The well-known story is about a boy called Jack that sells his cow for magic beans, much to the dismay of his mother. But when the beans grow into a gigantic beanstalk, Jacket sets off on an adventure in the magical land about the clouds.

Featuring a magic fairy, a hippy cow and of course, a giant, Jacket and the beanstalk is a traditional family pantomime with a modern twist – the perfect Christmas treat for children and the ‘not-go-grown-up’ grown-ups.

All the carers, staff and children loved the show. E, one of our young people who attended, was so impressed to see other young people performing on the stage, that she now wants to join a drama club and get into acting, which is so wonderful to hear!

Pantomime is great fun and a favourite with our carers in the North! We can’t wait for next year’s performance of Cinderella already.

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