A day with our Foster Care Team, our wonderful Foster Carers, and children galore!
written by Jonathon Cobbold
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the annual Foster Care Celebration Day at our HQ in Wilpshire. The day is a chance to bring all of our foster families together, celebrate and reflect on the year gone by and look ahead to the coming 12 months…
As part of the charity’s Senior Leadership Team I’m really lucky and get invited to lots of events but straight away this one felt different even before I arrived – because the team suggested I bring my family along! Now on the surface this seems like a lovely thing, but as a Dad of three energetic, all-consuming kiddos, getting to the office (on my own) often feels like a break from the proper responsibilities of being a parent. Something that is far more time consuming and challenging than being a Director at CANW. But I agreed to bring them – mainly because I knew it would help Mrs Cobbold out by giving her an activity that would get everyone out of the house and keep them occupied for the afternoon.
A week or so before the event, the Fostering Team got in touch to ask if I’d like my little ones to get an award at the event (all of the other children there would be) and, if yes, what I’d like to nominate them for. Again, this event was feeling different and special… But I was nervous, my daughter (Edie) is really shy and I was getting a bit nervous on her behalf about being called up on stage in front of 100 people to collect an award. But it would be fine, if she didn’t want to go up, I’ll use the chance to steal a bit of the limelight.
The day arrived, and we all bundled into the car and started driving over to Wilpshire. It was bright sunshine when we set off but as we got closer to HQ the skies got gradually darker and the rain started falling. And falling. And falling some more. What a massive shame for everyone who had put so much effort into planning the day. I really needn’t have worried…
We arrived at Wilpshire (it was still raining) but I was greeted by smiling faces from all corners. The Fostering team were milling around helping people park and directing them to the different activities (mostly under Gazebos!) and our Foster Families were all starting to arrive. As I walked across the bottom car park where all of the activities were taking place, all three of my kids were attached to me like limpets. For about 30 seconds. Then they saw the limbo, face painter, photo booth, blow up football goals, skittles , balloon artist, and CAKE. And just like that, off they went.
We all spent the next couple of hours spending time with all of the other guests. It was amazing to see some of our Foster Carers in action – it is impossible not be blown away by the love and care they provide every day. It was also really interesting and lovely to notice that you couldn’t tell who was a ‘birth child’ and who was ‘looked after’ – there was just lots of happy faces from adults and children.
Just before we needed to head home Amanda and Rebecca (from the Fostering Team) gathered everyone together for the awards. People who know me will know that it doesn’t take much to make me emotional – I’m a massive softy, especially when it comes to kids (mine or otherwise). But this award ceremony was something else. I just had happy, laughing tears for about half an hour. Hearing what all of the families had written for the young people in their homes was so life affirming. For some it was ‘trying hard in school’ or ‘getting a white belt in Jiu Jitsu’, for others it was ‘making sure the dog behaves’! But every single nomination was from the heart, and incredible meaningful.
And then, the moment of truth. Edie was about to get called up for ‘being brave, kind, and the best big sister’. And before Rebecca has even finished saying Edie’s name, she was up at the front of the room, grinning from ear to ear and holding her hands out ready to get her prize (a water bottle, a medal, and a certificate) – cue loads of clapping and ‘aww she is so cute!’ – something that had happened for every single young person. And that moment tells you everything you need to know about the day. Edie, the most wonderful, but incredibly shy little girl, felt so comfortable and at ease that she waltzed up in front of a room of strangers to collect an award.
Thank you to our Patrons
Delighted to welcome the Patrons of our Fostering service – Company Chairman, George Lamb and his Grandsons: James Holt, Jack Lamb and Thomas Riley.
Family is hugely important to Blackburn Chemicals and they remain a fully family owned business despite their significant growth and success. The family is from Wilpshire and has been aware of the Blackburn Orphanage; now Child Action Northwest, as long as they can remember. They are really passionate about giving back to the local community.
Their recent commitment to support us with a multi-year pledge has enabled us to continue providing loving foster homes for young people who need them.
Fostering could be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.
Love and support can make a huge difference to a child’s life.
Children require care for a whole range of reasons, but what they all need is a family that provides love, support and stability.
You could provide a loving home to a child who needs and deserves one. A safe, secure place to live for a few days, weeks, months or years.
Leave your details with the enquiry form below if you wish to know more about starting your journey to #FosterWithCANW