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Affinity “EXTRAORDINARY” Times Final Edition!

Published 01 Jul 2020

This is our last Coronavirus “Extraordinary” Times Newsletter. The weekly newsletters were initially designed to ensure we keep you all up to date during the uncertain time from March onwards.  Through 16 weekly newsletters we have aimed to keep you abreast of our latest news and how we are reacting and planning for Covid-19, whilst bringing some light-hearted and helpful online provisions for home schooling and home entertaining.

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We are now on the cusp of summer holidays for most schools. From the weekend, further government enforced restrictions will be lifted - you can meet up with friends and family from other households; pubs, restaurants and even outside playgrounds are opening and social distancing rules are being halved from 2 metres to 1 metre. For Affinity, our Supervising Social Workers and Participation and Support Workers are now organising and facilitating home visits. Our service to you remains strong and committed, and very tentatively, we are beginning to return to a new normal.

Being forced to embrace virtual technology over the last few months like Zoom (had anyone even heard of Zoom before March?) has helped us all to evolve, and will continue to be used, following your feedback, for everyone in Affinity’s benefit. This includes future virtual training, virtual Support Groups and alternative Supervision sessions with your Supervising Social Worker online, to name a few long-term benefits.

I’ll sign off with some good news for you all. In recent summers we have provided a “Pot of Gold” fund for all our looked after young people, to enjoy a summer activity of their choice. This year we are delighted to offer the Pot of Gold once again and this year we are broadening the terms. As many activity centres or leisure activities may still be closed over summer because of Covid-19, this year the Pot of Gold funds can be used for anything your looked after children may want to help enjoy their summer – items like bikes or scooters, some toys or games or an activity you can find that they would like to do – it’s all valid.

Because we want our young people to enjoy the Pot of Gold in their summer break, the window for Pot of Gold is from today, 1st July until the 31st July. Send in your receipts after you have purchased the item/activity/toy/ game etc with the attached form filled in by the young person by 31st July to be reimbursed! As always, we would love to hear all about what they have chosen to obtain with the money and have pictures for their files- it brings a smile to all our faces.

Thank you for all your resilience, nurture, and stability over this incredibly difficult time, and it may be needed for the summer ahead. I wish you all a peaceful and safe summer. I also look forward to seeing some on you on our virtual KIT Day (details below) in a couple of weeks.

Andy Robins, Assistant Director.

Summary of Coronavirus from an agency perspective, for the last few months.

 

As an agency, we have been incredibly fortunate over the last 3 months, with only one confirmed case throughout the whole agency of Covid-19, from staff, young people and foster carers. The one confirmed case had very few symptoms, and following a period of isolation, was fully fit and healthy. Much of this fortune is down to you ensuring your households have acted responsibly and in line with government guidance, and speaks volumes for the positive relationships you have with your young people that they have listened to you, followed your lead over a period where quite understandably young people have at times felt frustrated and bored. It has not been easy, but you have all done incredibly well and my heartfelt thanks to you all.

You may have seen in the news recently that demand almost inevitably has increased substantially for foster carer homes in the last few weeks as fallout from lockdown arises. This is incredibly sad, and Affinity are still incredibly full as an agency so our ability to help find homes for the young people at this time is limited. We have had some brilliant new foster carers come through over lockdown, and we have more coming through the application process. We are excited to welcome these new households to the Affinity family over the next few months, and it is essential to ensure we can continue to provide placements to our Local Authority customers.

KIT Day July

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Following the input in our last newsletter, our new virtual Keeping-In-Touch day (KIT Day), is now booked for Tuesday 14th July. Joanie sent an email out last week with the details on it and we have quite a few slots filled already. If you would like to join us, please do let Joanie know, and she can advise what slots remain open. We look forward to seeing you on this day!

 

Pot of Gold 2020

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If you missed it in the above foreword, Pot of Gold is back this year. This year we are broadening the terms. As many activity centres or leisure activities may still be closed over summer because of Covid-19, this year the Pot of Gold funds can be used for anything your looked after children may want to help enjoy their summer – items like bikes or scooters, some toys or games or an activity you can find that they would like to do – it’s all valid.

Because we want our young people to enjoy the Pot of Gold in their summer break, the window for Pot of Gold is from today, 1st July until the 31st July. Affinity foster carers should send in receipts after you have purchased the item/activity/toy/ game etc with the correct form filled in by the young person by 31st July to be reimbursed. As always, we would love to hear all about what they have chosen to obtain with the money and have pictures for their files- it brings a smile to all our faces.

 

Foster Carer Recruitment

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Bernardo’s published a report into fostering during Covid-19 last week, where they reported the number of children needing foster care during Covid-19 to have risen by 44%, which is a shocking and deeply sad statistic. By contrast, the same report indicates that the number of people looking to become foster carers declined by almost half (47%). This has led Bernado’s to declare a “state of emergency” for fostering in the UK. You can read more About this report here

Please, if you know anyone who is interested in fostering, please do point them in our direction. As a member of the Affinity Family, for every prospective foster carer you recommend us to, when we receive their completed application pack, you will receive a hamper as a thank you, followed by our agreed referral fee when they are successfully approved at panel. Please do continue to support us and keep new carers coming through.

 

Foster Social Media 

Throughout the summer we’ll be striving to find fun interactive sites for you and your families, as well as up to date advice and links that are relevant to you as foster carers. Please give us a follow by clicking on the links and following Affinity!  Facebook - Instagram - Twitter

 

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