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Sefton Pushes the Boat Out for our Fostering Families

Sailing activities organised for Sefton’s fostering households were underway as families came together for a fun day at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre.

Children and young people, their foster carers and the children of foster carers took the helm as they enjoyed riding electric and sailing boats.

The event is part of some collaborative work between Sefton Council’s Fostering and Leisure Services. Working jointly means that Sefton has been able to improve their lifestyle offer for foster children and their carers. This includes free gym and golf membership for the whole fostering family.

James is a foster carer with Sefton and brought his family along to enjoy the sailing. James said:  

“Today has been so good to get out in the fresh air and have some family time and catch up with other foster carers.

“The children have had a go at everything and have loved being out on the water. It’s great because it brings us closer together and we’ve never done anything like this before and it’s something we can all enjoy.”

Sefton Fostering Services’ Assistant Team Manager Tracy Millward said:

“We want to show our carers and their families how much we appreciate them by putting on these great activities and events. Days like these bring foster families together and help to create those special memories.

“Here at Sefton Fostering we are always looking for new and exciting opportunities to give our carers and all the children they care for the chance to meet up with friends and meet new ones.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to our Leisure Services who we have been working closely with. This work means foster children and their foster families can access Sefton’s leisure facilities for free and have the opportunity to try different experiences and possibly find new talents and interests, building confidence and self-esteem.

 Jeff Jones, Locality Manager for Sefton Council’s Leisure Services said:

“We are really pleased to be able to support the fostering service. Seeing the children and young people smiling and having so much fun is just brilliant.

“We wanted to give them the chance to get out and enjoy themselves but also experience something they have never come across before.

“We’re also delighted to be offering carers and children free passes to leisure facilities and really hope this will make a difference to the lives of our foster families.”

Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team by calling the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

Or by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

To find out more about Sefton’s Leisure offer please visit Sport & Leisure (sefton.gov.uk)

Sefton’s Fostering Services’ ‘Pop-Up’ Success During Foster Care Fortnight

Sefton Foster Carer Ginny and Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Cabinet Member for Children's Social Care standing in front of neon angel wings
Sefton Foster Carer Ginny and Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care

Sefton has hailed Foster Care Fortnight 2022 a great success as the Fostering Team went into the heart of the community to speak to people about how our foster carers are changing the lives of children and young people.

A ‘Pop-Up’ shop was set up at Bootle Strand Shopping Centre for four days, giving people the chance to meet some of Sefton’s amazing foster carers, our exceptional young people who have lived or are currently living in foster care and the Fostering Services’ friendly team.

With a life-size children’s bedroom as a window display, people were prompted to ask themselves whether they had a spare room to offer a child a safe place to stay.

The Strand proved to be the perfect place to reach out to the public as lots of Sefton residents, businesses and community groups attended events including an open discussion and Q&A with an experienced panel, information sessions and drop-ins.

People also took part in angel themed activities which aligned with our #EverydayAngel campaign, celebrating our foster carers and urging local people to think about giving a loving home to a child and become their #EverydayAngel.

People young and old were invited to take a snap in front of the Instagramable neon angel wings and got involved in the ‘Angel Wing Project’, which will see hundreds of decorated paper feathers make up large angel wings to be displayed at various locations across the borough.

Angela has been fostering babies with Sefton for 10 years and spoke to people at the Strand, “It’s been brilliant to be out and about talking to shoppers about my experiences. So many people have stopped and said they’ve thought about fostering or they’d love to do it but never got round to speaking to anyone about it.

“If fostering has ever crossed your mind, please just take that first step to find out more. I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Amy Lahiff is a Personal Advisor for Sefton’s Leaving Care Team and was herself in Residential Care from the age of 13. She came along to the Strand to share her experiences.

“It’s so important for me to let people know how vital it is that we have more foster carers. I was in Residential Care and am so grateful to the staff there but I always longed to be in a foster home so I could feel like I was part of a family again and have that one-to-one love and support.

Because of the lack of carers no one came forward to foster me and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Attending the Q&A panel discussion event, Councillor Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said;

“I have spent a fantastic morning listening to foster carers and people who have been in care themselves and it’s so inspirational to hear their stories.

“Its such privilege to be a foster carer, you are doing something amazing for young people in care in Sefton please come and find out more.”

Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team by calling the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

Or by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

Foster Care Fortnight Celebrations at the Strand Shopping Centre

It’s Foster Care Fortnight (9th – 22st May), the annual celebration which allows us to raise awareness about how fostering makes a real difference to children’s lives.

The theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #FosteringCommunities and we wanted to give the local community, businesses and services who are all part of our ‘Fostering Community’, the opportunity to hear first-hand, the heart-warming and exceptional experiences from people whose lives have been touched by fostering.

To do this, our friendly team, Sefton’s Foster Carers, and young people, will be at the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle for 4 days for you to come and chat to us. We will also be bringing some great events and activities for you to get involved in so please come along.

Wednesday 18th May – Saturday 21st May

Strand Shopping Centre – Upper Level, Unit 165 Parkside (Next to JD Sports and opposite Greggs Bakers)

Events and Activities

Decorate a Feather for our Art Installation

Our #EverydayAngel campaign celebrates our foster carers, who are our #EverydayAngels and it also urges local people to think about giving a loving home to a child and become their #EverydayAngel.

In line with our campaign, we are excited to be developing an art installation which consists of hundreds of paper feathers which will make up a pair of larger angel wings. Our fostering families have already been making our individual feathers look beautiful and we are also inviting you to pop along to the Strand to decorate your own to be added to the display.

BE AN ANGEL

You can become part of our #EverydayAngel team by coming along and taking a selfie in front of the fabulous neon wing stand that we will be bringing to the Strand while we are there. Make your visit to us even more memorable by taking a snap of you and your friends to post on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Wednesday 18th, 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Our friendly team including our foster carers will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat. In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a Foster Carer and the benefits that come with it.

Thursday 19th May, 10.30 – 12noon Open Discussion Q&A

You are invited to be part of an audience listening to a great panel of speakers including our foster carers, young people whose lives have been turned around and representatives from the Council who are supporting our fostering families.

The event will be introduced and led by Laura Knights, Sefton Council’s Head of Children’s Social Care.

Will also be playing a video we have produced with 14-year-old Jamie who is from Sefton and who is currently living in foster care. In this heart-warming video, Jamie shares his wishes and feelings past and present.

Friday 20th May 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Another chance for you to meet our friendly team including our foster carers who will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat.

In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

Saturday 21st May 11 – 1pm Weekend Info Session

If you’ve been thinking about fostering what better place to learn more than at our weekend information session.

Meet one of our amazing foster carers Dawn, and Amina, a young person who has experienced living in foster care and now lives with Dawn.

They are eager to share their story about how fostering has transformed their lives. You’ll also be able to speak to the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

We would ask you to register your interest in our events so we have an idea of numbers.

Email fostering@sefton.gov.uk or call us on 0800 923 2777

Sefton urges people to think about fostering during LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week

This week we are celebrating LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week (7th – 13th March). We want to take this opportunity to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender+ people to think about giving a loving home to a child and foster with Sefton Council.

Sefton needs more foster carers from all backgrounds regardless of their sexuality, gender, single, married, in same-sex relationships, race, ethnicity or religion.

If you feel like you have space in your hearts and your home, then please get in touch with us.

For this year’s celebration, we are sharing Mark and Dave’s beautiful story. The couple have been fostering with Sefton for 15 years and say with the support and help from Sefton and the fostering community, becoming foster carers has been the best decision they have ever made.

Mark: At the moment we’ve got three foster children 6, 10 and 13. We also have other previous foster children who are still with us and are a massive part of our family.

Sometimes we have to count how many plates we need at the table and how many seats we need there is that many of us. That includes children their friends their partners, we’re just one big family and we love it.

Dave: We have different experiences of fostering children of all ages. It’s great to see the young ones coming through, they are such a delight. They’re learning and their minds are like sponges. They want to be loved and to be hugged and its beautiful.

When you’re looking after the teenagers you can really get stuck in with sports and games. We like the outdoors so it’s great for us to get out and about with them.

There’s never a shortage of one of them wanting to play a game of pool, badminton or have a rounders tournament in the back garden. Seeing them wanting to engage is heart-warming.

Mark: When our eldest came to us he was sad. We gave him the stability and support he needed during difficult teenage years. 10 years on and he’s working and he’s really doing well in his life and being in foster care hasn’t held him back because we’ve pushed him forward and encouraged him.

Dave: If anyone from the LGBT+ community is concerned or worried or apprehensive about fostering, please find out more. We started 15 years ago, and it has been an amazing journey we’ve never been held back, and we’ve always been encouraged to be the carers that we are today.

Mark: I completely echo what Dave has said. If you are thinking about fostering honestly it is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It can be challenging at times, but you are bringing happiness and life to children who actually need love, a good home and support.

Sefton’s Foster Carers are paid for their skills, receive full training and support, plus allowances.

Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team or by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

Or call the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

If anyone is thinking about adoption, please visit www.adoptioninmerseyside.co.uk.

Foster with your local authority in the Liverpool City Region

The search continues for more foster carers to look after children and young people in the Liverpool City Region as part of a region-wide recruitment campaign.

Sefton has joined forces with Knowsley, Liverpool and St. Helens Council, to raise awareness about fostering with your Local Council.

The four authorities will be holding a joint virtual recruitment event on Tuesday 1st March at 6pm.

Applications to foster children and young people have declined significantly throughout the region since the start of the pandemic, yet there are nearly 3000 children looked after across the four authorities.

The need to find safe and loving homes for some of the most vulnerable children in our region is more important than ever before.

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“It’s great to be joining Local Authorities across the City Region with one main purpose to appeal to local people to think about fostering. We need more carers to provide the support and stable homes that these young people need to really thrive.

“Fostering is so flexible and there are lots of different roles available to suit you and your family. You don’t need any special skills or qualifications. Foster carers just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people.

“If you are interested in fostering, then contact your Local Authority. You will benefit from the support and training we provide.”

The event on Tuesday 1st March will be an opportunity to learn about the process, benefits, support and training available when fostering with your Local Authority.

There will also be the opportunity to listen and chat to an experienced foster carer who will share their experiences of what fostering is like on a day-to-day basis and talk about why they are passionate about caring for local children as part of a local authority team.

You can join the meeting via the Zoom link Launch Meeting – Zoom

For more information about Fostering with Sefton please visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk or call free on 0800 923 2777.

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