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Sefton’s Fostering Team put their best feet forward to take part in a national TikTok challenge

Sefton Council’s Fostering Service have put on their dancing shoes and taken on the ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’.

The challenge originated as a TikTok video, but it went viral last year and is now a global sensation.

Fostering teams all over England are now taking part in the dance which is creating a wave of awareness across the country about fostering and the vital role it plays in so many children’s and young people’s lives.

Northumberland’s Foster Care team kicked…or danced off the challenge in May and other local authorities including Sefton, followed in their footsteps.

Lisa Lyons Interim Executive Director of Children Social Care and Education said; “Dance has a great way of bringing people together and the ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’ is a perfect example, so we are delighted to take part in the challenge for one main purpose.

“The song behind the dance means ‘go with me, protect me and take me home’. I think this is something with resonates with the role of a foster carer as someone who opens their home to a child or young person to protect and take care of them, longer term or preferably until they can go back to their family home.

“This challenge is a really fun way to celebrate foster care and raise awareness about the need for more local people to help our children and think about fostering for Sefton.”

Click here to watch the Sefton Fostering Team’s ‘Jerusalema Dance Challenge’.

Sefton’s Fostering Service #Jerusalemachallenge – YouTube

To make an enquiry or find out more please visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk or call free on 0800 923 2777.

Council staff and carers go into the community to get people on board to foster for Sefton

Council staff, foster carers and their families braved the elements yesterday (Thurs 20th May) and embarked on a mission to encourage anyone who is thinking about setting sail on a new life, to become a foster carer for Sefton Council.

As part of Sefton’s Foster Care Fortnight celebrations, members of the fostering community climbed on board the ‘Pride of Sefton’ to spread the message that the Council needs more local people to give a loving and stable home to vulnerable children from the Borough.

Lisa Cummings Service Manager for Sefton’s Fostering Service said:

“Nothing stopped us celebrating Foster Carer Fortnight on the ‘Pride of Sefton’ today. The weather was wild but we she still wanted to get out in the community and spread the word.  Thank you to Sovini who helped us by donating today’s sailing and to the ‘Pride of Sefton’ crew who did an amazing job.

“Fostering is not just about these two weeks. All year round we want to show our carers that we value them and send a message for people to come on board with our amazing team and support network and become a foster carer for Sefton”

Taking in the beautiful sights of Liverpool’s waterways, foster carers Sue and Derek said:

“Coming out in this awful weather proved just how much fostering means to us because it doesn’t matter what the weather or the situation, you just want to get out there and spread the message that these children need our help.”

“Anyone who has given fostering even the slightest consideration should really go for it because it’s changed the world for us.”

Dave is a Placement Support Worker at Sefton and was also part of the crew who regularly takes children who are fostered for days out on ‘The Pride of Sefton’. He said:

“I’m so glad that we can use the ‘Pride of Sefton’ as part of our recruitment campaign. People all around can see our sign and our details so it’s another way of getting the word out there.

“The boat has so many uses as the children love it when we bring them on and sail down the river and in and out of the locks. Bringing them together allows them to speak to other children who are in a similar situation as them. This helps to build their confidence while they’re having fun.”

Sefton Council is committed to offering support to its carers every step of the way. This includes specialist and peer support, training and a financial package.

To make an enquiry or find out more please visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk or call free on 0800 923 2777.

Sefton Celebrates Foster Care Fortnight

It’s Foster Care Fortnight! Sefton Council is urging local people to ask themselves whether they could give a loving and stable home to a child by fostering for Sefton.

Running from Monday 10th to Sunday 23rd May, Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest fostering campaign. It also gives us the opportunity to say a big ‘Thank you’ to the whole of our fostering community for all their hard work and dedication during what has been such a difficult time.

In line with this year’s theme #WhyWeCare, we will be sharing video’s which include people from our fostering family, talking about “Why We Care”. The celebration will also include a virtual event for our fabulous carers to get together and win some brilliant prizes donated by local businesses.

On the 20th May, we’re on the move with our campaign as our carers, care leavers and staff climb on board the ‘Pride of Sefton’ canal boat, to take a journey along Liverpool’s waterways from Stanley Dock at the Titanic to the Mann Island, spreading our message as we go.

Sefton Council Chief Executive Dwayne Johnson says, “I would like to say a massive ‘Thank you’ to our dedicated foster carers who are doing an amazing job in making sure our children are supported emotionally and educationally and to our staff who are with our foster carers every step of the way.

“I have some personal experience as my mother grew up in care and said the turning point in her life was when she was fostered at 12 years old. She went on to have a fulfilled and successful life and says she owes a lot of that to her foster parents.”

Sue and Derek are a couple, but Sue has been fostering for 18 years and Derek is newly approved. Sue says. “I see the impact I’m having when children become happier and relaxed. They begin to see a future and develop ambitions and goals. It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve made a difference.”

Derek says, “I fell in love with Sue and with fostering and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. With guidance from the team, the recruitment process was straight forward. If you’re thinking about fostering please go for it, it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do”

Sasha, now in her twenties, was fostered when she was 8 years old when her parents’ relationship broke down and they were unable to care for her.

She says, “I want to help raise awareness about fostering and let people know that being loved and having a sense of belonging can turn a child’s life around. I hope I am an inspiration to other children in care because with my determination and support I went on to get 3 degrees at University and see a great future for myself. Without this support I really don’t know where I would be.”

Sefton Council is looking for volunteers who can support children and young people in making their voices heard

Are you passionate about improving the lives of children and young people in care?

Could you support a young person to have their say in decisions made about them, help them to understand their rights and challenge anything they are unhappy with.

If you could spare a couple of hours a month to volunteer as an Independent Advocate, we would love to hear from you.

The purpose of our independent advocacy is to:

  • Assist and support children and young people to speak out/speak up for themselves
  • Ensure that the young person’s voice is heard and listened to.
  • Help children and young people to understand decisions that have been made about their care
  • Assist children and young people to understand their rights and the services that are available to them.

As a volunteer, you will receive:

  • Initial training including Independent Advocacy, Safeguarding and Children’s Social Care
  • Ongoing supervision and support
  • Access to free specialist training relevant to your role
  • Reimbursement of expenses (including travel)
  • Skills and Experience to assist with future job opportunities

Our Independent Advocates will usually support young people at appointments / meetings during office hours, therefore we particularly welcome interest from volunteers who are available midweek (any days Mon-Fri).

For more information Contact Cheryl Yates, Independent Visiting and Advocacy Officer:

cheryl.yates@sefton.gov.uk 0151 934 4167 / 0771843282

Sefton Council supporting families with school holiday meal vouchers during Easter Half Term

Sefton Council is pleased to announce that it will be offering supermarket vouchers during the two weeks of the Easter Holidays to support children and families who receive free school meals.

The Council will be using part of its Winter Funding to provide schools with these much-needed vouchers. Schools will then allocate these vouchers to families who are eligible.

As with the Christmas Holiday vouchers, these will be valid to buy food in store and online at local supermarkets.

The Council will also be providing a food programme and activities during the summer and Christmas holiday this year. This will be optional for children who receive free school meals. Further updates on these provisions will be available soon.

Speaking about the Council’s support during the Easter Holidays, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“We understand that many families across the Borough are experiencing difficulties, especially with the added challenges people are facing due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

“I am therefore, delighted that we can hopefully lessen the burden for our communities by giving this support over the Easter Holidays.”

Families across Sefton who do not currently receive free school meals but think they might be eligible can visit www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.

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