Well, 2017 is upon us and we’re excited for all it brings. There’s no doubt that things move at a fast pace where children are concerned and browsing back through our website news items, 2016 was particularly fast paced! In January, we digested figures released by the Fostering Network, advising a further 9,070 foster carers were needed during 2016 and our Romsey team celebrated their move to a brand new (Georgian!) home.
“I knew Broadwater House would make a wonderful base for our core staff; it’s charming and full of character, just like the teams working there!” Simon Lockyer, CEO Blue Sky Fostering.
Quilts and babies
February brought us a lovely delivery of handmade quilts for our babies and children under 3, from the fabulous people at Hampshire’s Linus Project and we reported on Sarah and Georgina’s fantastic trip to Child’s i Foundation in Uganda.
Hearts and homes
A firm tradition in our calendar is the LGBT Adoption an Fostering week in March. This annual drive to encourage people from the LGBT community to open their hearts and their homes to children and young people in need is hugely important, especially given the Fostering Network’s figures from January!
Ducks and ducklings
Springtime is the time for new life and we were particularly pleased to ‘foster’ a duck and her gorgeous new ducklings in the foliage in the car park at Broadwater House. They stayed for a few weeks before ‘flying the nest’. We all enjoyed watching and caring for them. Perhaps mummy duck will return this coming spring. Hope so!
Muddy Bear’s Trek
Springtime is also the time for mud and April showers ensured Matt, Sophie, Ed and our little Blue Sky Bear were covered from head to toe in the stuff following their ‘rough runner’ challenge. The bear then embarked on a trek through the Himalayas, no less, and a mud-free Ed and Simon were presented with our Duke of Edinburgh award plaque, by Levison Wood at Buckingham Palace.
Jaffa Cakes and talent
Many Jaffa Cakes were harmed at our annual ‘Blue Sky’s Got Talent’. Organised by everyone attached to our Portslade office, children and grown-ups showcase their talents. Singing, challenges, a pop-up photo booth and that Jaffa Cake eating competition are firm favourites with all!
Regular visitors to our website will know that we were devastated to lose our lovely colleague Alex, back in the autumn of 2014. You’ll also know we support Ugandan-based charity, Child’s i Foundation. In many ways, Alex was a major contributor to the Foundation, so we were touched and delighted when, in July, the Foundation named one of their abandoned babies after Alex. This is baby Alex’s story. Also, in our Alex’s memory, we are raising funds for the British Liver Trust, an organisation that gave him, his wife and family, tremendous support.
Expeditions and more mud!
The school summer holidays can be a challenging time for fostering households, so with meticulous planning and preparation, Ed and a team of colleagues helped a group of our young people undertake their very own Duke of Edinburgh expedition in the New Forest. September ‘Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder’ was a huge success for children, foster carers and staff, prompting our Sophie to declare it “the best ‘love my job’ day, ever!”.
Choosing Blue Sky
The love for working with Blue Sky was also felt by Nina. In October, Nina wanted to share her reasons for choosing to join Blue Sky rather than one of the largest fostering agencies. Sometimes the solutions to our conundrums come from the most unexpected ways!
Michelle, Alex, Eva and Harry
We were delighted that the November launch of our new Basingstoke office was attended by not one, but four members of a Blue Sky Fostering family! Michelle, her children Alex, Eva and Harry, were on hand to meet and chat with people. They’re a lovely family and we’re so proud of the difference they all make to the lives of the children in their care.
Devotion to Dogs and a Dog’s Devotion
But it’s not just the people making a difference; pets do, too. Danielle lived with our carers, Marina and Dave. Her lifelong love of dogs led to her new career with WagnWalkies. Then there’s our quiet hero, Finn, helping traumatised people a comforting paw to talk about their experiences and enable others to help.
Thank you for following us and for your support and interest this year. Knowing we’re reaching people and sharing the incredible difference made to young peoples’ lives is very precious to us, so we wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous, fostering-new-year!