Capstone Foster Care News

IMG_9411The second of our summer activities events took place on Tuesday 9th August at Bristol Zoo Gardens. We met at the entrance at 10:30 a.m. 19 carers, 4 staff members and a whopping 36 children between the ages of 2 and 18 years joined in the fun!

It was a beautiful sunny day which enabled carers and children to explore the Zoo at their own pace and leisure. There were lots of different animals to see including the monkeys, lions, penguins, sea lions, butterflies and many more. Also around the Zoo were different interactive activities for children and adults to join in with and if you were lucky you could see some of the animals being fed. There was also a creative flare to be felt with a number of different sculptures and art work around for people to enjoy. Children could also be creative themselves making face masks in the activity centre. There was lots to do to keep busy!

We re-grouped on the lawn in the gardens at 1 o’clock for a picnic lunch.  After which, carers and children were able to continue exploring the Zoo.  A wonderful day was had by all!

Thanks to all who came!

Feedback from this event:

“Thank you Tina and the Capstone team, just had a really great second day out organised for us! Came home today with 5 very tired kids (aged between 4 and 14!)” from L in Somerset

A from Bath said “they think that Capstone activities are brilliant and that they always enjoy them”

A from Wiltshire (9 years of age) said “the Zoo was cool and my best bit was the bats

For any future visits to Bristol Zoo, foster carers caring for children who are disabled or with a statement of SEN will be able to enter Bristol Zoo free of charge Please see more details on their website

margate juliettaOur team of carers, children and staff at Capstone South East recently got together to enjoy a family day out. Everyone travelled together by coach to enjoy a day at the beach in Margate. We were lucky as the weather was perfect for both the beach and the funfair.

Julietta, a Capstone foster carer said:

“Once boarded  and safely seated on the coach we were all provided with ‘goodie bags’ compliments from Capstone. What a fantastic surprise !. The bag contained fruits, water, healthy snack bar and anti bacteria hand gel.

It was a beautiful turn out with many old and new faces on the coach. The adults chatted amongst each other whilst the children sang songs and played guessing games. New friendships were being formed.”

Upon arrival yet again each family received another surprised gift ‘ ice cream’ money! From Regional Director, Seamus, thanks again!”

The location was a great spot, where teenagers and some carers opted for the funfair and other carers and younger children mostly opted for the beach.

Matthew, a Foster Carer, added:

“What a great family day out! ‘The water is so warm!’ the kids said to me as they splashed about and paddled in the sea. They were right, it was warm! Bucket and spades in tow, we set our sights on building a monster sand castle city.

As well as snacks provided by Capstone, carers brought lunch with them or enjoyed fish and chips on deckchairs on the beach.

Julietta added:

“Without a doubt it was a beautiful day. Many thanks to the staff at Capstone who must have worked very hard to put this event together, in particular the staff who attended and still had their ‘working hat ‘on and kindly provided support and advice …whilst licking ice cream …smiling. “


Regional Director, Seamus, added:

“It’s really important to us to organise events like Margate for all our foster carers. It’s a great opportunity for carers and their children to form friendships with others in similar circumstances. It was delightful that the weather was kind to us on this occasion, and we all had a good time enjoying what Margate had to offer.”

Jo is back with another blog for us…

Ours is a loving but busy home, and even though the house is trashed with cat-scratched furniture, insurmountable wads of laundry, and paraphernalia relating to every family member’s various hobbies and enthusiasms, we thought it was about time we threw that chaos into turmoil.

So, last month, we adopted a dog.

We’re regulars at the local animal shelter. We’re forever donating bedding, food and toys, and making sure that on every visit we stop in at each of the cages and kennels to make a fuss of the cats and dogs that have been brought in or found. On one of our most recent visits, my other half fell in love with a two year-old Husky named Akira. Her owner had recently passed away, and a relative had taken on Akira and her brother, Blue, before proceeding to do a fantastic job of neglecting them both to the point of starvation.

After the necessary bonding sessions and home visits led by the shelter, it was time to bring Akira home. As we led her away from her kennel, it destroyed me that we were leaving behind her brother. Akira howled, Blue pined, and I sobbed my heart out. It always upsets me whenever we visit the shelter that we’re leaving those animals behind, but this time it was more intense, because we were actively taking Akira away from Blue; the brother who I truly hoped she had shared some wonderful times with as well as the horrible ones.

It’s now a month later, and I still feel awful.

Where am I going with this, and why have you clicked onto this blog expecting to read about fostering?

When you take a foster child into your home, you’re thinking directly about them; what you can do for them and how you can positively involve them within your family. I have to be honest and say that the last thing on my mind is the family that child has left behind. It’s very much an ‘out, away and move on’ philosophy. I don’t know if this is how all foster carers feel, if any, but the hope with all of my blogs is that they will resonate with someone.

I joke that getting the dog has systematically destroyed several elements of my life, but in all seriousness it’s also taught me a hard lesson. Just because you didn’t see that child’s family at the point of the separation, or the child’s reaction to it, it shouldn’t render it ‘out of sight and out of mind’ when it comes to everything that results from that separation.

They say dogs are loyal, but so are children. They can be a part of some of the most abusive and neglectful homes and still scream for their mums and run away to find their dads. What’s worse, is that even when you take the parents out of the situation, you have to think about the siblings. Chances are, if one child has been mistreated, their brothers and sisters will have been, too. I can’t tell you how much adopting Akira, and still mentally picturing Blue pining for her in the shelter, has shocked me into thinking about that now on a constant basis.

I realise this blog is a little more downbeat than my previous ones, but I felt compelled to write it to share it with anyone who may be thinking of fostering. You WILL make a positive impact on a child or young person, you WILL change their lives for the better, but you WILL also face a past as well as a future. When your agency actively tells you all of this in the training stages (and they DO if they’re worth their salt), listen to them! Trust me, it’s much better to prepare for these situations early on, rather than have something blindside you later on when it hits you out of the Blue.

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