Based in Oundle, we cover Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Luton, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. We currently work with more than 70 foster carers and over 110 children.
Fostering Solutions Oundle is a small, friendly fostering agency which prides itself on knowing all of its foster carers individually. Most of the staff know foster carers by name and we take care to develop a supportive family feel.
However, being part of the National Fostering Group also gives us access to a huge range of experience, knowledge and resources, which enables us to offer maximum flexibility for our foster carers.
“We listen to our children and foster carers and continually gather feedback, both formally and informally. We want to be absolutely clear about their thoughts, needs and wishes so we can respond to them. And we do respond to them. We have a very active support worker group and we take action on things that need to be addressed. We have 200 years’ worth of experience that we can draw on whenever we need it.”
David Rignall, Regional Manager
The team is particularly proud of our engagement with foster carers and children – both looked after children and birth children. We have a full programme of social events throughout the year, particularly during school holidays, giving foster carers and children the opportunity to meet on a regular basis.
Activities to date include an open air cinema, dry bobsleighing and climbing. The aim is to challenge children and help them build their social networks. We hold formal events, too, such as the annual award ceremony in October/November which recognises individual achievement among children and foster carers.
We hold an annual Christmas lunch for foster carers, as well as a drop in lunch at the office. We also hold regular breakfast clubs for foster carers, Everyday Hero Award monthly for particular outstanding practise, afternoon tea events, and a Men Who Foster group.
We are keen to know what young people and foster carers need. We use a number of feedback mechanisms, including the review process and feedback forms, as well as informal feedback-gathering. Anything that requires urgent action is dealt with immediately by the manager. Other responses may be provided by the social worker or other members of the team.
In response to previous feedback, Fostering Solutions Oundle created a special events programme for children with learning difficulties. We had recognised that a busy, noisy environment might be challenging for children with conditions like autism and ADHD, so the team created an event with fewer children in a larger space. It is important to ensure that all children feel included and could benefit fully from the experience.
Birth children are an important part of the fostering experience and the team ensures that they are included in events and special treats. Treat packages sent out during Covid-19 were also sent to some birth children, including a boy who had recently come out of hospital. We also held weekly an online Family Quiz, a cake competition, a photography competition and a talent competition for young people to join in.
On a monthly basis, we award a Star of the Month prize for any particular achievements. We hold a regular support group for birth children.