2nd June, 2021
In “normal” times, we like to celebrate the successes of our foster carers who reach their 5, 10 and 15 year milestones during our Christmas events. However, due to the restrictions imposed in respect of social gatherings, we were unable to do this at the end of 2020.
Therefore, we decided to use a little bit of creativity and brought the awards to the “virtual screen” as there was so much to celebrate! Altogether, there were 14 fostering households who were celebrating 5 years of fostering with Capstone, 7 households who were celebrating 10 years and an amazing 7 households who were celebrating 15 years or more as carers.
If my maths is right that is 245 years worth of fostering experience in one group of foster carers! Pretty amazing.
The award ceremonies took place over 2 days on 12th & 13th April 2021 and were attended by Capstone CEO Peter Battle, Capstone Director Richard Compton Burnett, South Hub Area Director Steve Blackwood, South West Registered Manager Karen Marks and the South West Team Managers and Supervising Social Workers of the carers attending.
In total, carers from 12 households were able to join us to share their fostering experiences and celebrate their fantastic achievements.
A bouquet of flowers and a framed certificate were sent by the agency by way of a thank you to all 28 households.
Whilst each and every one of these fostering families are exceptional, if we did have an award for the best dressed it would go to Jon Raxster, who donned a velvet dinner jacket and matching bow tie for the ‘awards ceremony’.
The individual managers have shared below their views and feelings about the ceremony and what it meant to them:
Eileen Bristow (Somerset/Wiltshire)
What a treat it was to be able to attend the Capstone Foster Care awards on Monday 12th April. Surprisingly, it worked really well on Zoom.
The last year or so has been particularly challenging for foster carers with coronavirus restrictions in place, so it was wonderful to be able to come together to do something positive to help balance the negative effects of COVID 19, and to hear inspiring stories from foster carers about their experiences of fostering.
Every person’s experiences were unique and incredibly special – the positive impact foster carers have had, and are continuing to have, on the lives of children and young people in their care was awe-inspiring. There was an overwhelming atmosphere of care, commitment and unconditional love – which was evident even on Zoom! The lengths to which carers will stretch themselves to support and encourage the young people in their care to overcome those experiences was breath-taking.
It was a such a privilege to be able to participate in the awards and to feel we are all working together with the same aims - to make a positive difference for children who have had adverse childhood experiences, and to ensure they are not defined or limited by those experiences. It was also gratifying and reassuring to hear how foster carers felt supported in their fostering role by their SSW’s and by the agency.
Unfortunately, many carers who received awards were not able to be present at the Zoom awards, but they know who they are and they are not forgotten. I hope they know their efforts and contributions are no less valued and appreciated than those who were able to attend. Hopefully, they will be able to join us for the next awards as I believe we are intending to make this an annual event.
Steve Peverill (Hampshire/Dorset)
First of all I want to thank my team of foster carers.
In recent years we have seen the beginnings of a transformation in foster care - in the range of fostering that is available, the support being offered and the range of training now available.
Foster carers do an incredible job, providing stability and care to the children who need it most, in the most difficult of circumstances. More than anyone, they can help children recover from the experiences which have brought them into care, and give them an opportunity to make a fresh start.
But I want to do more than simply celebrate my foster carers. I want to embrace the diverse and varied people who make up this beautiful and endearing service, which ensures consistency, despite whatever the world throws at us. We are as an agency wanting to empower foster carers to provide the best possible care to children, free from unnecessary and harmful bureaucracy that exists in the big wide world.
So, while Foster Care appreciation is about celebration, it should also be about action, actively listening to the wonderful story being told about the commitment to change, the motivation to get it right and the determination to make a difference based on hope and possibility. As a manager of the Hampshire and Dorset team I want to recognise the immense effort and resilience my team of foster carers have demonstrated, whilst ensuring we work to the legislation that governs us and the jobs we do. So, a really heart felt well done, we are a large area, however the sense of family and family values shines through all that you do, so THANK YOU Guys, you truly are the best.
Scott Wickers (Devon/Bristol/Gloucestershire)
The event was such a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the courageous resilience, compassion, and withness of our carers and their wider families. The presence of collaboration and connectedness throughout our fostering community was heartfelt and sincere illustrating how our joint accomplishments have changed and continues to change the lives of so many vulnerable children.
On behalf of the Devon and Bristol Social Worker team and our children, thank you to all our households, for your support, encouragement, and perseverance in keeping our children safe and giving them the love and nurturing experiences, which will resonate throughout life.
I am not sure what more I can add to the statements above, the skill and dedication shown by our foster carers is my motivation and I look forward to celebrating and acknowledging this formally every year.
Karen Marks - Registered Manager – Capstone South West