Look back at 2018
Round up of 2018
It’s been a very exciting year for everyone in Family Fostering Partners not least of all because we have welcomed a significant number of new carers into our family, and we look forward to welcoming many more in the year ahead.
We have LOVED touring in our Elevan and attending events across South Wales from a slightly damp and soggy Pembrokeshire County Show to the sun-drenched Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay.
January and February
2018 was full of adventure from the very start as we created and developed our Buttons and Blue cartoons and revamped our website to make the process of becoming a foster carer as easy as possible using our Live chat facility where you can talk and ask questions in real time. Our website is also the only fully bilingual website of any Fostering Agency in Wales – something we are very proud of.
If you’ve still not seen our Buttons and Blue animation, then you can see it on our YouTube page by following this link.
This was an important month for us online because we got our 600’th page like. Little did we know that by the end of the year we would have close to 900! Thank you to everyone who follows our adventures and information online and we look forward to bringing you plenty more stories in the year ahead.
April saw two of our foster carers completing the Newport Marathon. No mean feat, and we were proud to be able to join the throng by tracking their run and congratulating Les and Katie on their fantastic achievement.
April was also the month for our formal launch of Buttons and Blue, a cartoon voiced by Lloyd Macey of X Factor fame and we were over the moon to have him join us at the Towers Hotel. S4C’s cameras were also in the audience and the event was covered on Prynhawn Da and Heno with interviews with Judith and Lloyd.
We kicked off our summer tour of events by visiting the Welsh Countryman’s Fair,. The weather was kind and we loved speaking to different people about fostering, especially to those from an agricultural background who have so much opportunity in terms of space and flexibility to offer children safe and loving foster homes.
Fostering fortnight in the same month was also a tremendous opportunity to highlight the great work that foster carers across wales do to the lives of children. We were only too pleased to play our part in making foster carers feel valued by passing on a letter to carers on behalf of the Minister for Children and Social Care. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Huw Iranca, AM’s, kind words, then they can be found below
By June it was full steam ahead as we collected our redesigned Elevan and towed it to attend the Swansea Airshow. Such was the excitement that we needed to take the roundabout outside the office to wave to our colleagues inside! There is no way you could miss this unique and colourful vehicle, particularly if you’ve had the privilege of driving behind it. Sorry but we were going as fast as we could!!!!! If you haven’t been so lucky to see the Elevan or to partake in the Tea and Coffee it offers you can see it in all it’s glory by clicking on the pictures below.
In the Swansea Airshow on the Saturday, Bernie and Anne Marie enjoyed the spectacular views and stunts in the bright sunshine while Judith and Phil got drenched when the weather broke on the Sunday!! Never mind – you can’t win them all....
Llanelli’s LGBT day clashed with the Airshow but the team divided up to make sure we spread the word about fostering at both events.
The warm weather returned just in time for us to attend the Royal Welsh in Builth Wells for the first time. A truly great four days and Judith even found time to wash her feet and cool off!
Not content with just being busy, in August the team had to divide to cover two simultaneous events. Bernie and Phil were at the LGBT Family Day in Llanelli while Judith and Curon manned the Elevan for the start of an unforgettable week in Cardiff Bay for the Eisteddfod.
We were very honoured to welcome to the Elevan the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones and spread the message about the fantastic difference foster carers make to children’s lives and our work in supporting and encouraging the use of Welsh within our agency. The week was made especially memorable when we were part of the huge crowd who welcomed Geraint Thomas to the Senedd in the Bay to celebrate his amazing achievement in winning the Tour de France. The sea of yellow T shirts was fantastic to see – although trying to find a path to the loo through the crowd was an interesting challenge!
To end a great Summer of events, we attended the Pembrokeshire Show once again. This is an event we have supported every year since Family Fostering Partner’s inception and true to form, the weather proved a little more of a challenge than for other event. Pembrokeshire Show is close to our hearts as is the County itself because it is here that we recruited our very first carers and where we still have so many loyal followers. The Show is also a great excuse to see at first hand, Pembrokeshire’s finest produce and livestock as well as all the interesting stalls and stands, although it is true to say that one of the horses in the ring got a little too close for comfort to some of the stands this year!
The busy Summer did not put off may off our intrepid staff and carers from keeping fit and finding new challenges. Some of our carers and staff members braved the horse fly bites and the summer heatwave (and forest fires!) to run the Invincbl challenge in Pembrey. Can you guess which one of the pictures below is the before and which one is the after the race?
This was a month when we welcomed Hannah Jones, a new member of the Family Fostering Partners team who is by now, a familiar face to all our carers. Hannah has a wealth of experience of supporting parents and working with children to modify challenging behaviour. She has been a fantastic asset to us.
No busy year would be complete without an incredibly successful Inspection Report that we are VERY proud of. If you haven’t yet read the report, you can find it on the Care Inspectorate’s website, or by clicking HERE.
If you haven’t got the time to read the whole report, the highlights are that staff, carers and everyone associated with Family Fostering Partners did amazingly well, and a huge thank you once again to each and every person who works so hard to make FFP a great place for work and foster.
October saw us pick up again our carers training and support programme after the usual Summer break and we were also incredibly busy preparing new foster carers wanting to join the FFP family. Regardless of how long a fostering assessment may take us to write, the joy of knowing that at the end of the process Wales has an additional foster family able to safely look after vulnerable children always makes the process worthwhile. This year our Skills for Fostering courses, our Foster Panels and Support Groups have seen us work right across South Wales – from Merthyr to Tenby and from Newport Gwent to Newport Pembs! We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.
Never ones to rest on our laurels, this month saw us try something new as we hosted our first ever Taste of Fostering Event in Portmead, Swansea. Thank you to everyone who attended, and we can’t wait to host another one in 2019.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the obligatory diners and celebrating and we had great fun in joining our carers at The Cliff Hotel in Ceredigion as well as the Towers Hotel in Swansea with novelty T shirts, Christmas Jumpers and cracker hats abound. The symbolism of having our Buttons and Blue animation launch in the Towers during the beginning of the year and returning to the same venue for our carers celebration at the end of the year was not lost on us.
We ended the year on a bitter sweet note as we said goodbye to our colleague and good friend Heledd who left fostering to pursue fabulous new adventures. Before she left we were really pleased to be able to celebrate her new journey and to make sure that she understood how loved and appreciated she is by all of her colleagues and carers.
AAAnnnnd in the word of Looney Tunes ....That’s All Folks....Our roundup of an incredibly busy year in FFP......but we have barely had time to catch our breath and 2019 is already upon us!
Watch this space in the next few days as we launch our new campaign to encourage more families to offer loving, safe and stable home to as many children as possible. Wales still has a shortage of some 550 foster families and we have made it our mission to help bridge this gap. If you can help and if you would like to join a lively, friendly agency who are also honest, professional and ranked as Tier 1 in the Wales Fostering Framework getting in touch has never been easier. You can either complete the form below; use the Live Chat dialogue box in the bottom right corner of your screen; e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us 01267 232228. Don’t forget that we also have a Facebook page and you can message us that way if you prefer.
Until then......thanks for an amazing 2018 and we look forward to hearing from you in 2019.
Look out for our Elevan across Wales, and if you see us, remember to ask us about fostering and how you can offer a child a safe and loving home by becoming a foster carer.