Affinity Foster Carer Conference 2023

Published 15 Dec 2023

The Foster Carer Conference is one of the highlights of the Affinity calendar. Every year, we whisk our carers away to a hotel in Essex for a 2-day get together.

Why do we hold an annual conference?

The conference is a much loved family institution! Our foster carers enjoy being taken away and treated to a night at a hotel. They enjoy getting together as a community of foster carers in an environment where they can let their hair down a little and have some fun. They enjoy the treat of the 3-course evening meal and the full-English the following morning! The conference is truly an opportunity for us to recognise and thank our carers for the hard work and commitment they show to our children every day of the year. It is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate.

But it is also an opportunity to learn new things. Affinity invites speakers to the conference who offer fresh insight and perspective on topics that are central to fostering. Our carers value this opportunity to hear powerful voices that have something truly important to say.


This year, we had 3 speakers over the course of the 2 days.

Our carers were really moved by the story of Sammy Woodhouse, best-selling author and activist, who has rebuilt her life after surviving exploitation and abuse growing up in Rotherham. What she shared with us has deepened carers’ understanding of exploitation and how it affects children and young people and how carers and other professionals can respond to their specific needs.

We were also thrilled to welcome back Nick Barwick. Nick always connects with our carers on a profound level, as he offers up his experiences of being separated from his sibling whilst in foster care. He is able to offer a deeply moving perspective on the importance of sibling relationships and how our carers can best meet the needs of children they care for who might be similarly affected.

We also heard this year from Jo Thompson from Mermaids, an organisation that supports transgender, non-binary and gender diverse young people and their families. Jo helped our carers understand the importance of gender and identity for the young people we support.



A Great theme

This year’s theme was the Great Gatsby. As the evening drew in, so too did the glamorous outfits. The dining room was taken back to the roaring twenties with many a table hosting gangsters and their molls! The glamour and glitz really made for a special atmosphere where our carers could feel cherished and celebrated (and well fed!)

The evening culminated in some excellent entertainment from Andy Wilsher who sang a storm doing what he does best: a wonderful tribute to the Rat Pack and famous singers of swing. He ensured a full dance floor at all times.

Such a fantastic two days, it makes one wonder how we can possibly top it in 2024. I guess you’ll have to wait and see….

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Why Affinity are the best agency for new foster carers

Affinity Fostering were rated as Outstanding by Ofsted in 2022. In-fact we’ve been rated Outstanding in every inspection since we opened our agency!