Another week, and another large step taken in returning our lives to a semblance of normality. Within the last week the UK Government’s coronavirus alert level has come down from 4 to 3, meaning the virus is still in general circulation but that restrictions can be gradually relaxed. This was followed by the government announcing that social distancing, from the 4th July, will being reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre plus, and this date is also when households can begin to host visitors and stay the night. To the delight of millions, it also means pubs and other venues like churches, hairdressers and campsites can re-open from 4th July.
We are reminded by the government that we still need to remain safe. A second spike could be looming. Social distancing, where possible, should still be kept at 2 metres. Hygiene remains crucial.
At Affinity, where our work continues, now with our Supervising Social Workers being able to visit you, these safety aspects remain paramount. Our Supervising Social Workers will only visit at the moment where the foster carer agrees, a risk assessment is completed, the risk is low, and the use of PPE is considered. This is the new normal and one we must all embrace to keep us all safe.
Andy Robins, Assistant Director.
The referrals team continue to be very busy, and as seen in the news this week, demand nationwide for foster care homes remains incredibly high. Over lockdown Affinity has been incredibly full - we entered lockdown full, and almost all our young people have stayed in placement over the period which is an incredible testament to you our foster carers. We therefore remain very full, with all placements now being considered carefully as placing alongside.
We continue to be happy to report another week with no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus either in the staff team, foster carers or young people. Social distancing and hygiene continue to be prioritised by us all.
We are delighted to announce that SJ joined us as a foster carer from panel that happened last weekend. SJ lives in Romford, and came to us through being recommended by our beloved LC's daughter, which is lovely. We are really excited to have SJ with us and look forward to her fostering career beginning with Affinity.
To the eagle-eyed amongst you, may have seen our very own Sue on ITV News last night! ITV wanted to speak to foster carers who had taken on young people during the coronavirus and raise awareness of the strain on the fostering system – we’re very of proud of Sue and her willing to be interviewed on national tv! You can still see this news item on the ITV Hub but it will drop off soon!
Affinity are helping to support Remus Animal Sanctuary, are our neigh.. (no pun intended!)… bours and are a charity that does so much good with neglected and mistreated animals, mainly horses. This week we have helped support Remus with funds for bandages, a deep bed of straw, some yummy and loved Himalayan vitamin licks for the horses and feed for an animal for a week.
Remus are usually open this time of year once a month to help gather enough funds to keep them open and care for the horses and need a lot of help at this time. You too can donate here
For those newer to the agency, we hold regular Keeping-In-Touch days (KIT Days), where members of the senior management team at Affinity spend a morning, and have lunch with, our foster carers who would like to discuss issues directly with the SMT. Our latest Keeping In Touch Day is due in July, and this KIT day will inevitably have to be different than normal. We will therefore be conducting this virtually, with times allocated so people can have one-on-one time with Affinity’s SMT. Stay tuned for an email coming round to confirm when this will be, and how to book a slot with us. Alternatively, as always, we are all available to all our foster carers every day, so please do get in contact should you wish to discuss something with us directly.
As highlighted above, we are extremely busy at the moment with referrals and young people desperately needing a foster home. Most of our foster carers are full, and we desperately need more foster carers. Over the last few months, we have some new carers join us, but also some leave to retire. If you know anyone who is interested in fostering, please do point them in our direction. And a reminder, 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 incentive. Please do continue to support us and keep new carers coming through.
Some fabulous content you may have missed over the last week include the Museum of Zoology publicising it now live digitally from 22-27th June, and how to identify British Trees on our facebook page, some lovely quotes from our foster carers on our Instagram page, so don’t miss out, give us a follow or a like.
And, even better, if you have felt especially supported and valued during the lockdown period by us, as so many of you have come back and told us, you could leave us a positive review on Google, which would be really appreciated. (You can review on Google by typing Affinity Fostering Services into Google, and then on the right-hand side when the results come up, you can we only have two Google reviews. Click on those reviews and you can then write your own). Please do add some of your own, we’d love some more reviews! Facebook , Instagram & Twitter