The working partnership between Barnsley Council’s fostering team and the North East Area Council has contributed to a dramatic influx of fostering enquires over the last six months.
A new initiative trialled by Barnsley’s fostering team has seen them focus the majority of their recruitment activities and marketing to focus upon the North East area of Barnsley. Working with the North East Area Council, a plan which aimed to highlight a demand of Barnsley carers for Barnsley children was created which allowed the fostering team to utilise council members links and local community knowledge to deliver outstanding results.
What started with an area wide flyer and poster drop in local shops, retailers and community buildings, followed by access to all community fayres and galas as well as support via social media and simply being vocal about their support has contributed to overwhelming results.
12 months prior to the campaign, the Barnsley Fostering team received a total of 85 fostering enquires, however, since the launch of the innovative just six months ago, they have achieved 82 enquires. Of this 82, 14 households have come directly from the North East Council area.
As well as the campaign across the North East area, Barnsley fostering have used Radio advertising, links with Barnsley Football Club; notably having a successful day at their annual open day, as well as showcasing themselves at a number of other events across the borough.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding), said: “It’s been a very busy six months for the fostering team and the results are simply outstanding. We’ve received incredible support from members of the North East Area Council and we’re extremely grateful for their help and support.
“We reaped fantastic exposure and being able to attend their community events, which also draw in residents from wider parts of the borough, has been an excellent way to get our message to Barnsley residents.
“Not only have we been able to speak to a large amount of people, we’ve spoken to people of different communities by attending a variety of events such as food festivals, Barnsley Pride and the Destination Barnsley event.”
Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for People and North East Area Council Member, Said: “It’s been fantastic to work with the fostering team. We’re proud of what our area has to offer and it’s great to see our residents respond to the campaign so positively.
“Foster carers are amazing people, and it’s great that the work we’ve done together will have such a positive effect on our young people who need support.”
Moving forward, Barnsley’s fostering team will continue to spread the message that the borough is in need of Barnsley carers for Barnsley children, but specifically is in need of people willing to look after sibling groups where it’s important that families aren’t separated as well as our teenage residents who are in desperate need of safety and stability.
Cllr Margaret Bruff added: “Over the coming period, residents can expect to see us focusing on the specific needs of the borough. Although we’re delighted to see the large influx of people wanting to be carers, we need people willing to support sibling groups and teenagers who need care. We do our best to ensure we can provide care within the borough they know so they can feel more secure and not in unfamiliar surroundings.”
There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Anyone can foster as long as they are over 21, have a spare room and the energy and enthusiasm to look after a child.
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can also call Kerry on 01226 775876 for an informal chat.