Local businesses, employers and organisations flocked to The Baths Hall on Friday 17 March to attend the launch of a new fostering scheme.
The event was hailed a success after a raft of local businesses pledged their support in signing up to the Fostering Friendly Scheme.
Cllr Julie Reed, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Our foster carers are the most amazing, resilient, and dedicated people who show love and empathy to all of our children.
“Every child deserves the chance to live a full life, to reach for the stars and our foster carers support and enable them in achieving this into adulthood.
“This scheme is an initiative that we as an existing Fostering Friendly employer are proud to be a part of and are looking to businesses and employers in our community to support the inspirational work that our foster carers do every day and empower them to continue to guide them into adulthood, transforming our children’s lives.
“Many of our foster carers choose to foster alongside employment and it is refreshing to see so many local businesses pledging their support. It will ensure that our children can continue to grow up in their community, with local foster carers being supported by a Fostering Friendly County.”
Businesses who have already committed their support include: Deligraze, Hirst Priory, The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, Mumaroo, The Islamic Centre and Belton Kitchen.
Following the launch, a further 20 businesses want to find out how they can get involved and join the other flagship organisations driving the Fostering Friendly Scheme forward across North Lincolnshire.
Hazel Wheatley, Managing Director of Hirst Priory, said: “We are delighted to say we have signed up to North Lincolnshire Council’s Fostering Friendly Scheme and look forward to supporting the scheme in any way we can.
“We will be reviewing our HR policy to include fostering friendly support, provide work experience for young people in care and a safe space for foster carers to gather for social events, offering sponsorship prizes as well as displaying information across our various platforms.”
The Fostering Friendly Scheme is open to all types of businesses and organisations and will focus on two strands: helping employers to support and understand the roles of their employees who foster or who might be interested in fostering alongside raising awareness of and supporting fostering in the community.
Michelle, a North Lincolnshire foster carer, said: “One of the core values at my workplace is that employees bring their whole self to work – we’re encouraged to talk openly about life outside of work so we can all better understand each other; caring responsibilities, hobbies, faith, culture, illness, or disability.
“I can be open and honest with my line manager and peers about them understanding my fostering role. I am able to use my foster carer training to develop my skills at work which includes, people management, managing behaviours, and a practical understanding of neurodiversity.
“This scheme should encourage current and future staff to consider fostering as something which can go hand in hand with employment and may also appeal to potential care leavers as a ‘safe’ employer as there will be people working there who can be an advocate for them in the workplace.
“The scheme should also aid in empowering the employee and employer through open conversations and the vital importance of building trust and communication.”
Ray Nolan, Director of Nolan Interiors Limited, said: “The whole event was extremely positive and highlighted the amazing work foster carers provide for children, especially in encouraging and supporting them to succeed in life.
“These children are the employers and employees of the future and as a local business, I am more than happy to support this scheme however I can.”
Members of the Fostering Friendly Scheme can engage and support in a variety of ways – all of which can be individualised to each organisation.
The engagement could include raising awareness in the community and across social media, offering discounts for foster carers or children in care, providing work experience, offering space for training, or even putting in place a HR policy for all foster carers in their employment that offers flexibility to their employees.
Those who join the scheme will receive comprehensive information, guidance, and support from the North Lincolnshire Council’s Fostering Team throughout the entire process and during their time as a member of the scheme.
If you are interested in finding out more and signing up to this scheme, contact the team on 01724 297000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or express your interest on the North Lincolnshire council website.