Nicola, Marketing & Recruitment Officer
During Foster Care Fortnight 2020 we are sharing stories of how foster care transforms lives. By sharing the stories of people who have had their lives transformed by foster care, we pay tribute to the wonderful work foster carers are doing.
We will share thoughts from foster carers, staff, Board members and young people who have experienced foster carer. Next up is Nicola, our Marketing & Recruitment Officer at Carolina House Trust.
How long have you been working at Carolina House Trust?
How long have you been supporting foster carers in one way or another? How do you do this?
Usually, my role is about attracting new foster carers to Carolina House Trust – raising the profile of the organisation and making sure there is enough information about fostering with us out there for people. At the moment I am working with the Placement Support Workers in pulling together Club CHT, updating our social media channels and helping out with staff communications.
What is your CHT or foster care career highlight?
A foster carer sent us a beautiful photo of the child she fosters with her own children around their Christmas Tree at home. That childhood moment of joy, wonder and kinship in the festive season was very special. It reminded me what fostering can achieve for our young people – being safe, nurtured, loved and making happy memories. I chose that photo for our recruitment campaign.
Have you had a low point? How did you overcome it?
Like many of us, the COVID-19 situation has changed my plans for the immediate future. I am disappointed not to be able to attend community events this summer and spread the word about our organisation and fostering opportunities in my first year in post. Instead, it has been satisfying to pull together the Club CHT programme as right now supporting our current foster carers, staff and young people is our main priority.
What would you change about foster care?
After only seven months working at Carolina House Trust, there is lots I am still learning about foster care. I would like to attract more carers to create more spaces for children as the demand is so great, especially for siblings.
What challenges has COVID-19 and lockdown brought to how you provide support? How are you overcoming them?
Not being able to get out and about, doing promotional events and taking part in home visits, makes it tricky to attract new carers at the moment. Instead, I am helping to support current foster carers and provide activities for our young people. In a short space of time, and as a team that had never worked remotely, we pulled together a format, process and content via email, the website and social media channels for a daily programme.
What has been the funniest moment of your CHT or foster care career?
We tend to laugh a lot at Carolina House Trust. We have monthly staff meetings and breakfast rolls, regular staff socials and a welcoming canteen area. Sara’s Christmas Quiz was a pedantic and cryptic, but hilarious occasion.
What do you enjoy doing when you have some time to yourself?
I enjoy going for a walk and listening to podcasts at lunchtime. I like meeting friends and family, eating out and travelling with my husband and son. I enjoy doing some exercise, reading and having a bubble bath in the evenings.
The theme of Foster Care Fortnight this year is ‘’Foster Care Transforms Lives”. How has being immersed in the world of fostering changed your life?
I have always felt fortunate for the loving start I had in life, but I am even more aware now of how early experiences can determine so much about you. The training I have attended at Carolina House Trust has given me a much better knowledge of child development and childhood trauma. It has also changed my own outlook as a parent.
About Foster Care Fortnight
Foster Care Fortnight 2020 is taking place from Monday 11 to Sunday 24 May.
The Fostering Network’s theme #ThisIsFostering provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the incredible work foster carers are doing, especially in such unusual circumstances. The overarching message of every Foster Care Fortnight is ‘foster care transforms lives’. Foster care makes a difference to the lives of fostered children and young people, but it also has the power to change the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.