The Association of Barnsley Foster Carers

The Association of Barnsley Foster Carers formed in 1975 with the aim of improving the life chances of children in care through stimulating and educational activities. They promote self-worth, encourage the formation of friendships between the children and the association also enables carers to bond and gain support in their roles.

The Association of Barnsley Foster Carers received a grant of £1,800 from the Frank and Pat Carter Family Fund, which was used to organise activities for the children including a Christmas party and pantomime trip for all the children and all ages as well as a paint-a-pot session.

Throughout the year this group, solely led by volunteers, carries out a range of activities from small social groups to large gatherings such as the pantomime trip where they book out the whole theatre (172 seats). Hosting a paint-a-pot session allowed the children to design a piece of pottery with complete freedom and this was then professionally glazed and they received by them at the Christmas party.

Many children who are in foster care have had difficult starts to life often without any or limited nurture. Reportedly care setting can set children back years in terms of development. This group is doing their best to change this by providing crucial support the carers so they can give their children routines as well as help them build confidence in social situations and groups.

With Christmas being viewed as a family orientated event, the party is extremely successful for those in care. This is because it allows a weight to be taken off of the children’s shoulders, as many believe they’re alone and their situation is their fault.

When speaking to Vice Chair, Wayne Jones, about the party he recalled the following which really highlights its success:

“One lad was struggling being away from his family at Christmas and wasn’t engaging with his carer family well. He’d only recently come into care and it was clear he thought he was alone until the party as he was so surprised how many people were there. He soon relaxed and spoke to other children and began having fun which was a wonderful relief for his care family.”

The Association of Barnsley Foster Carers plans to continue its support of children and families across the region year by year. With an upcoming trip planned to Flamingo Land the group is already organising more activities for the children to enjoy. They hope to receive more funding to keep helping as many children as they can and hopefully have 5 yearly activities including; Bowling, Flamingo Land, a Halloween Party, a Christmas Party and the Pantomime trip, and add more year by year.