Capstone Foster Care News

After hearing I was going to be out of action on the Fostering front for 6 weeks plus while recovering from my first knee replacement and another after that, I wondered – What on earth would I do? All those wasted hours. I remembered a friend had told me she was knitting blankets for a group.blanket 2

Hazel set up the group of knitters here in 2009, just up the road from me at Melbury Osmond. After she had returned from a holiday in South Africa- she could not forget what she had seen and heard.

On one tour she had asked – ‘’Why are all those girls carrying bundles of newspaper?’’  ‘’ That is not a bundle of newspaper.’’ She was told. ‘’It is their babies, (a lot have twins) ‘’that is all they have for them, they use it for nappies clothes and blankets.’’

Most are very young teenagers, some abused by family or raped, some live on the street as have been ostracised from their homes. So she decided to start knitting blankets this grew to family and friends and other little groups have formed. There is a lot of knitting to do as well as trying to raise funds to get blankets and layettes sent over to South Africa.

This hit my heart especially as I mostly do the Mum and Baby placements and see the opportunity they have over here. I asked could I knit some blankets and was welcomed with open arms, I am on blanket number 34 now!

I source a lot of wool on Ebay each blanket takes 300grams. I supply my Sister who is delighted to knit again. So we get through a lot of Double Knit. The Group use 4ply for the layettes.

I would like to ask would anyone with odd or new balls of Double knit or 4 ply would like to send it this way through your SSW or one of your local offices visit all donations would be welcome.

We do not knit in white as it is believed to bring bad luck.

If you would like to knit yourselves please do, there is a pattern available on the website-Knitters-scroll down for adobe download

The blankets are easy enough on old size 9. new size 3/75 needles cast on 140 stitches and garter stitch 360 rows. I do stripes however some do squares and stripes dividing the stitches and then knitting them together.

Thank you for your time in reading and if you can help an extra big thank you from Hazel and the Girls.

Shirley Cheeseman.

Capstone foster carer

blanket 1

My Vlog this month is about Christmas and how a child who had never viewed the festive Season as a positive thing had not only enjoyed the day but taken the brave step to stand up during dinner and make a toast. He showed me how important it is to be part of a family at this time of year and how much our simple traditions can impact on someone’s self-worth, something I had always taken for granted as I have never known any different. Being part of a fostering family has taught me many things, but that Christmas I realised how lucky I had always been and have been thankful for it ever since.

Merry Christmas


Demi’s Christmas experience

I have written about boredom before however I have noticed a different issue over the last few weeks. It has mostly come to light because of the new craze Pokemon Go! This new app, as many of you are aware, has got many kids out and about as well encouraging the most enthusiastic home bird to venture outside. I downloaded this after being asked by the kids and I said we would open it up when we were next out for a walk.

Last week we were in the park and the kids were struggling to play. When we turned on Pokemon Go! their faces lit up and suddenly the real world was an exciting place to be. I have to say I have struggled to understand the craze (even though I am very technologically literate) since it seems to be a real divorce from experiencing the actual world by putting a screen between you and it. The problem seems to be that the game is perceived, at least my children, to make the real world fun. Even worse, playgrounds requiring imagination are no longer needed as Nintendo will do the thinking for you.

Our summer is, as usual, busy with varying activities and an interesting summer holiday coming up at the end. We have put together a wall chart showing what each day holds and what we can look forward to. It is helpful to us and the kids. What I was not anticipating was the gaps in between events. Holly so far just lies on her bed in the foetal position only asking about what has been planned next. Any activities which involve her entertaining herself are deemed to be too much effort.

My initial response is anger. What a nerve thinking that adults are only there you to entertain you! In reflection though, have we not made this environment, particularly for foster children? I have encountered lots of kids who were given treats and experiences because people felt sorry for their position. I believe that some kids find themselves in extended periods of time like this. Carers often not being aware of the negative effect it can have on the child’s development and personality and the young person entering into a very materialistic and ‘entertain me’ attitude.

As a long term carer I’m having to think through strategies of how Holly can be rationed in her use of tech but also how she can move from a place of expectation in being entertained. We are using 2-3 hours in the day which no provision is given from us as parents in terms of structured activity. I will let you know when we come out of the foetal position and a look of despair despite lots of suggestions about activities!

Have you found yourself in this position? How did you cope? Have you implemented strategies to build relationship and imagination? I would love to hear how you have helped kids move on from this position or whether you really struggle with this.


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