On the 29th May we attended Ryton Pools Country Park. 20 children and their parents came along to enjoy the activities delivered by the Rangers. We started the day off by enjoying a picnic in the visitors centre. During the afternoon the children took part in Orienteering, Shelter building, fire lighting, tool making, mud painting, bark rubbing and pond dipping. We had a fantastic day and luckily the rain held off until we were in the woods. The young people built some amazing shelters and were very proud of them.
The Fostering Network has launched a campaign to persuade the Government to change the law and provide funding to enable young people in foster care to stay with their foster families when they turn 18. This can mean that someone studying for their A-Levels need not be forced into independent living midway through their exam year, at a time when most young people rely on the support and help of their family to enable them to study and do well. The average age for most young people to leave home across the UK is 24.
As well as providing a stable family life, we know that education plays an important role in helping children to turn their lives around. In the last academic year 41% of By the Bridge foster children gained 5 GCSE’s grade A*-C, compared with the average of 12.8% of those who had been in care. And last year, 100% of our school leavers went on to gain places in further education or training provisions. Allowing foster children to stay with their families until they are 21 would be a practical way of smoothing the path towards adult life and help in some way to level out the inequalities in educational opportunities.
Read more about the campaign here:
During a Spring event at The Barn, the young people’s forum group held a charity bake sale. The young people, foster parents and staff all contributed cakes to sell during the afternoon and raised over £70. They decided they wanted to help other young people, like them, who were in foster care and eventually decided on The Who Cares? Trust. The money helped to cover the cost of a Future Focus session called ‘Top tips for positive thinking’. The session asked 12 young people from care to look at what makes us happy and how we can use positive thinking to get the results we want. The Who Cares? Trust told us that the participants really enjoyed the session which helped them to look ahead and be more positive about their futures.
Another interesting report issued last week by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.
They make recommendations to better meet the needs of young people who enter care as adolescents. They recognise that care is just one stage of a child’s journey into adulthood and highlight their preference for specialist fostering over residential care.
Our creative approach to fostering has once again earned us OUTSTANDING in all five areas of our latest OFSTED inspection. Read the full report here – we’re very proud!
Ofsted recently asked 187 looked after young people what would keep them out of trouble. No surprise to By the Bridge foster parents, that they just want to be kept busy. A toxic mix of gangs, peer group pressure and boredom were identified by children and young people as some of the factors that lead them to break the law. The great majority thought that young people are not born criminals, they become criminals and agreed that children in care were specifically vulnerable to getting into trouble.
The full report, Keeping out of trouble, was published on 25th April and can be seen here:
Amy – aged 16
Were you there at the Dunchurch Easter Event? If not, why not? It was fantastic! We did so many activities, it was great watching the children running around gathering all the letters to spell the word ‘Easter’. Once all of the children had their letters they all received an Easter egg, there was plenty for all.
After the Easter egg hunt, there was a table full of all creative activities for everyone to do. If you didn’t like art, there were outdoor games, which included walking feet, hoopla, skittles, juggling, giant connect four and badge maker.
There were all kinds of food provided for our lunch, which I loved of course!
Towards the end of the event we finished off with the parachute, where everyone joined in, including the adults!
By the Children and Young People’s Forum Group, North West
Our Children and Young People’s Forum Group, and the By the Bridge team, held a charity bake sale during the half term holiday. We had loads of brilliant ideas of ways we could raise money for Children in Need, but we decided that a bake sale would be the best idea for all of the children and their foster families.
Each family who came to the bake sale made a cake… or two! Our creative cooks baked some really unique cakes and cupcakes. People made sticky toffee pudding, lemon drizzle, fairy cakes, flap jacks, kitten cupcakes and many more. Pretty much all of the cakes made by us were sold!
The money that we collected went to Children in Need. In total we raised £165.
Annabelle Atkins, Participation and Achievements Leader Central Services
Following his success during a Get-a-LifeStyle music development project, further one on one lyric writing sessions, and two performances at KICA ceremonies, one By the Bridge young person has taken the National Children and Adult Services Conference by storm.
Performing two self composed tracks, to a large audience at the London ExCel Centre, the 14 year old wowed the audience with his stunning performance of rap songs based on his life experiences. During his interview afterwards he says how he hopes his music and lyrics will inspire other young people to achieve.
To watch the interview and live performance, please click on the below link.
By Sofie, aged 13
On Monday 6th June at 8pm, By the Bridge took an excited group of foster children to see one of the Earls Court Graduate Fashion Week shows. The Rochester fashion graduates were able to show off their creative talent to a very eager audience.
There were 7 people that were able to attend the fantastic opportunity that By the Bridge offered. It was the perfect amount – which basically means no one else would have fit in the car!
First, we all went for a nice meal at Nandos and got to know each other. Then we set off and although it took a while, Tracey and Annabelle were able to get all us inside with only minutes to spare till the doors closed.
The 24 different designers all had amazing talent and entertained all viewers.
In my opinion, some of the outfits looked a bit too flamboyant, it was unbelievable, from cages and balls on people’s heads…to really long waistcoats, it was all simply…fashion! Although most people wouldn’t go out in half the garments!
It was interesting to watch real life models and how they really walk on a catwalk.
All in all it was a great opportunity that might not come again so we have to make the most of it and see some pretty unique ideas about the future of fashion…what will it bring next?