During February half term, the Frome fostering team in Somerset arranged a ‘Pop in for Popcorn and Smoothies’ event, which 16 young people and 5 carers attended. As you can imagine lots of smoothies and popcorn were consumed on the day, and lots of great ideas were pulled together by the young people who participated in the event.

The ideas shared by young people and carers will be used to guide and influence the Somerset’s Summer Activity programme later in the year. Some of the ideas that were put forward included Air hop, paint balling, go karting, visit to a water park/theme park, horse riding, day out at the beach, swimming, horse riding and many more. The Somerset team will be working to pull a programme together which will be shared with carers and young people in due course.

We also used this opportunity to consult with young people about the Children’s Guide which every child/young person receives when being placed with Capstone foster carers. The young people shared some excellent feedback about the Capstone Children’s Guide, and supported our team to understand their needs, and preferences better.

We would like to thank to all those that attended and contributed, and we cannot wait to host summer events for all Capstone families to enjoy together, and create a Children’s guide, updated to reflect the requests of the young people we support.

On the last day of the February half term holidays, a group of about 12 budding young performers arrived at the village hall in Denshaw, Saddleworth. They knew that they were going to take part in ‘A Play In A Day’ but no more than that. After a few warm-up games, Nancy (script-writer, costume finder, props maker, casting director and producer) gave out copies of the 16 page Peter Pan script and we had a read through for the first time, knowing that 7 hours later, there would be a performance for carers and staff. That thought did help to concentrate the mind! Nancy gave out the roles according to the actors’ confidence and age and we started rehearsing and bringing the words to life.

Nancy broke the play down into several scenes which we rehearsed in isolation and then, just before lunch, we put them all together for a run through. We’d come a long way in a few hours, but there was still a lot to do before the performance. After the sandwiches there was a bit of a slump in concentration levels, it seemed harder to get through scenes without confusion and mistakes and we started to wonder if the whole plan had been too ambitious; we shouldn’t have doubted Nancy’s energy levels or the young people’s enthusiasm!

Play in a day Saddleworth

There was a final rehearsal in the last hour before the show and though there were still a few rough edges we were confident that it would be alright on the night. It was then time for make-up and costume fittings before the audience started to congregate. The levels of nervousness on the other side of the curtain started to rise as the lights dimmed…

Before we realised it, the play was over. No-one had made any big mistakes and the small ones that had been made only added to the audience’s enjoyment. The young people that had barely spoken during initial read-throughs somehow transformed into confident, clear-voiced thespians who may one day be treading the boards at The Old Vic or The Globe.

Putting on a play is a great way of bringing people together and working as a team. We all have different roles to play and our own strengths and weaknesses. Through working hard, supporting each other and believing in ourselves, it’s amazing what can be achieved!

One of the young people we support, Tia, has been praised for the cool and calm way she handled an emergency after she was faced with a mother who had collapsed. The 15-year-old was passing a house when a young child came out and appealed for help saying ‘mummy’s on the floor’. Tia did not hesitate as she followed the child back in the house and found the mother who had suffered an epileptic seizure

Tia helped the woman into the recovery position before calling emergency services, giving a calm and clear indication of the situation.

Local Paramedic, Helen Caddy, said it was Tia’s calmness over the phone which helped the ambulance staff respond to the emergency appropriately.

Tia has wanted to become a paramedic since she was 8 years old and was rewarded with a special ambulance service certificate and a tour of a local ambulance station.

Tia explained “I was quite shocked at the time because I had never experienced anything like that before. I think my instincts just kicked in.”

Ambulance area operation officer, Simon Caunter, who presented Tia with her certificate said; ‘We wanted to say well done for keeping calm and getting help”.

Tia’s story was featured in the local press, and the story above is taken from the Totnes Times

Tia's photo copy

Paramedics Helen and Simon show Tia around the ambulance station