After the speculation regarding what the lockdown would look like following the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday, the road ahead is at first glance, still a little foggy. However, some important amendments have been made, much of which I will not go into here, instead explaining what this means for Affinity.
Firstly, we have been, ahead of the announcement, reviewing what any new measures could look like for us, and broadly the announcement fell in line with our plans. This means we can react quite swiftly. From Monday next week our Ingatestone office will re-open, with a skeleton staff, conforming with UK Government Covid Secure Guidelines. This will, in line with UK Government plans, be further rolled out if infection rate continues to fall, on the 1st June. At present, our Supervising Social Workers remain working from home.
Our Participation and Support Workers, eager to be out doing work with our young people, will also be out in the field again from next week, but again, following the Government’ Social Distancing guidelines. Support initially will be offered to all P&C placements and prioritised for other young people depending on individual needs. Support duration will be shortened due to the restrictions on where they can go, but this is an important stepping-stone in restoring our practice.
I am also pleased to report that our young person’s Voices Group are working brilliantly together on virtual platforms, and we are very proud of their enthusiasm in their ongoing work on the new brochure for young people which is gathering pace and should be out soon- great job Team Voices!
Andy Robins, Assistant Director
Affinity remain at full strength in our staffing levels, and for the remainder of this week all staff are working from home. We have one family with a young person recently testing positive for Cov-19, who is receiving brilliant support from their foster carers and supervising social worker whilst they self-isolate, and continue to do so safely. Well done to the entire household.
New support group sessions will now take place in the first week of June, over 14 smaller virtual sessions, hosted by a Social Worker, Lesley our Practice Manager or Greg our Registered Manager. These will be sent out to you soon, so please keep your eyes peeled. There will also be some input around Alcohol Awareness at each support group.
Becs, our Participation and Support Worker, has been working on this project for a while, but it is now being prepared to roll out. Aimed at our young people going through puberty, and all that this strange and quickly-evolving time can bring, Becs has created a Guide to Growing Up booklet which may help to explain a few things about how their bodies may be changing, and also within the box are a few useful bits (gender specific) they may find useful. It also contains details for Becs, Vic and Bethan who are always there for a chat or if you or your young people have any questions for them.
This week marks the first week of the Fostering Network’s Foster Carer Fortnight. This annual event is designed to raise awareness of the transformational power of fostering and to celebrate the fostering community. Over these two weeks we will be sharing anonymised positive comments from all of our foster carer about fostering and your experience with Affinity, over our social media channels with some lovely graphics. Some of these are up on our Facebook and Instagram pages as we speak! You too can get involved by posting on your social media with the #FCF20 and #ThisIsFostering. Please also tag us into your posts! Let’s make the wider world more aware of the excellent work you do, and help get more foster carers across the country.
Our social media continues to remain open and providing useful content, including sites and links for educational matter and interesting activities during this time, on our Instagram page and Facebook page. We are also, and will be providing more, useful blogs with similarly useful content and pieces to read of interest, so stay connected and tuned in!
"To Carol and the Affinity team,
I just want to say a massive thank you for all the support that you have given me over the years!
Even though I haven’t always been the best-behaved young person, I have felt safe in my placements and always believed that the Affinity team has never given up on me. Now that I have come to the end of my time in foster care, I believe that I am now prepared for adult life and independence. This is all because of the last year I spent with…. an extremely experienced carer, and this was all possible because of the Affinity team.
I would especially like to say thank you to Vicky who has been my support worker from the beginning and has helped me in so many different ways over the years. From supporting me on contacts with my family to supporting me through difficult placement moves. Vicky has always been there for me when I needed her, so thank you so much!!
I wish you all the best in the future and once again... Thank you!"
Receiving this warmed all of our hearts. This young person will be working with Affinity on some upcoming Panels and maybe some other projects that are being drawn up- we’re very proud of them and everyone who helped to get them to where they are today. This is what fostering is all about.
As mentioned a few weeks ago, Vicky has been working on a great new project for our young people, in the shape of a virtual time capsule, which was sent out last week. These are remarkable and historical times we are living through and this project hopes to get the young people to reflect on their time during lockdown and put pen to paper, to provide reminiscence for their future selves from the tangible document. Please encourage the young people to complete this, and then send in for saving to their files. Please let Vicky know if you would like a paper version of this sent out to you. Vicky.Sellen@Affinityfostering.com