To H,

Where to start! Wow, 18, what a milestone and I am so glad to be here to see this moment.

I wanted to mark this birthday with some of my recollections of your journey.

You arrived at George and Rob’s home in April 2012 at the age of 11 years and 2 months. My first memories of you are of a young girl who was timid and unsure.

At first, we thought you would only stay 28 days however, we could see you needed to know where and with whom you would be living with so, with Maria’s hard work, we challenged Bradford and they agreed that you could stay. I was thrilled.

I remember you having to come along to our social events and how uncomfortable you looked; but you came which was an achievement in itself.

Slowly, as you got to know me better you started to relax. I was able to learn more about you, what you liked, your quick sense of humour.

I remember us doing some sessions, when we thought about things you were finding difficult. There was one piece of work we did that I will always remember. We drew your two families placing people on the page at different distances from you to reflect how close you felt to them. I was blown away by your insight and honesty.

Another stand out moment for me, was when you agreed to do skills to foster training. What a great day to show how you were growing in confidence. To stand up in front of strangers to help them learn about foster care was so brave.

If I remember right, you were a difficult/ personal question by one of the applicants and you handled it with great maturity. The feedback from the course was that you had done a great job, as I knew you would. It is invaluable applicants learning from young people like you.

My next big memory of you is around the support you gave to J another young person in care who needed some guidance and support. I know this was out of your comfort zone, so I really appreciated you agreeing. The best moment was at Lightwater Valley when you took J and E under your wing. It was a proud moment for me.

George shared with me the English Essay you wrote, it is one of the best pieces of work I have ever read. I knew we needed to use it to benefit other young people and foster families, so I was thankful when you agreed we could use it for the Capstone Video competition (Of which you were the clear winner! 🙂 Watching you read your essay about what family is, is one moment that has validated my career as a Social Worker, so that H, I thank you!

Next! Kerry’s interview! Talk about going from strength to strength. I knew you had the skills and knowledge to help us choose the right new social worker for our team. Your feedback on applicants showed your maturity- It was fair, considered and very much valued. Vivienne, Team Manager + Mary, Registered Manager, were so impressed with your feedback + they trusted it.

And now into your final year “formally” in foster care how you have grown. Planning holidays, developing relationships, studying hard, learning to drive. Confident, delightful, ambitious. I could not be prouder.
All you have done while I have known you. Your tolerance of parents and children who have needed George and Rob’s help, your honesty, your insight- I have gained so much working with you.

Now you are 18 and planning university such exciting time. I have no doubt you have the capacity to achieve what you set your mind to. You have made incredible progress in the time I have known you and achieved so much. It has been a genuine privilege being part of your journey, and as for your post 18 journey I hope we can still be a small part of it.

I am proud of you and wish for you a future filled with joy and fulfilment.

Happy Birthday
From Debbie 🙂

Open Letter to Holly


On Tuesday 15th January O attended Young Voices choir 2019 at Sheffield FlyDSA arena. There were over 5,000 children from schools across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire coming together to form one HUGE choir. As part of the concert the kids sang with Tony Hadley(from Spandau Ballet), Beau Dermott (from BGT) and Sharlene Hector, who is a renowned backing singer with the likes of Emelie Sande, Tinie Tempah and Michael Bublé. They also danced with Urban Strides, a street dance troupe.

O got to the venue at 1pm and they rehearsed for 3 hours in the afternoon and all the “stars” spoke to them and encouraged them to be brave, bold but most importantly enjoy themselves. O was one of only 24 kids that represented her school and she really enjoyed herself.

Linzi and Neil arrived at 6.30 p.m, and they said:

‘when we arrived in the hall we were met by a bank of noise. The kids were giddy and looking forward to the concert. We finally spotted O and Neil was able to go over and get a picture of her before the concert started and wish her luck. There were about 7,000 excited, proud and anxious parents in the audience. I don’t know who was giddier the kids or the parents!’

When the concert started you could see that all the work was worth it, and the kids did a really great job. They sang songs from Moana, Greatest Showman along with different medleys and there was even a message of support from Mr Hugh Jackman.

Young Voices were supporting teenage cancer and have raised over £100,000 for the charity this year. For further information on young voices visit www.youngvoices.co.uk.

O didn’t get back until 10.30 that night and although she was very tired, she loved the experience and was still buzzing.

 


Every year our Heywood team organise for their foster families to attend a pantomime performance at the Oldham Coliseum and have been for the past ten years and have never been disappointed! This year, the panto was a really positive night – Oh, yes it was! We reserved 80 seats for our foster families and we were delighted that everyone attended and was able to enjoy the incredible performance of Cinderella.

What’s more, our children and young people even got the chance to meet the actors back stage before the show began! We weren’t sure who was more excited, the children or their carers! Everyone had a fabulous night and it was a great laugh and chance for foster families across the region to come together and socialise.

In addition, our Bradford team also organised a trip to the pantomime for their foster families and they too had a fantastic turnout of carers and children.

We received the following feedback from our carers:

“Thank you so much for organising this. It was E’s first experience of pantomime and he absolutely loved it. To see him enjoying something so much brought a tear to my eye!

I have to admit that I loved every minute too! I was like a big kid!

Thank you again”

Another carer added

“Just a message to say thank you to all at Capstone for organising Pantomime this year. It was a very enjoyable experience and a fabulous performance.

It is very much appreciated.” 

And again…

“A great day out for all and AR especially enjoyed the Hello wishee part. We liked his funny jokes. Looking forward to next year.”

“We enjoy days out like the pantomime etc… it’s lovely to see people and I feel we’re one big family”

It’s always fantastic to hear from our staff too who work incredibly hard with these families on a daily basis and see their hard work is paying off at events like this:

“As staff members, we thoroughly enjoyed Panto, the performances were fantastic, the jokes made us belly laugh, the 3D part was super scary, but the absolutely best part was seeing so many of our foster families together having a great time. And of course hearing one young man in particular join in with great gusto!! My eardrums have only just recovered!”

Here are some images from the Heywood pantomime evening. Everyone looks so happy!


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