News | Soundly Fostering | Agency | Thetford | Norfolk

News

fostering

Dec 2023:

December and the year’s end, is going to be busy for carers, staff and children of Soundly Fostering. Our festive support group will be an important way for us to again show appreciation for all that our foster carers do. 

We are also looking forward to taking many of our children and families to the Pantomime to see Sleeping Beauty, as well as ‘Tubing’ for our older children. We are really pleased that several young people, who have grown up and moved on, will be joining us and that they continue to keep in touch. We love this, as it is one of the ways that Soundly upholds the importance of the connections made whilst children live with us.

Nov 2023:

One of the aspects that has really become noticeable, is that everyone associated with Soundly Fostering, helps each other out. When new children come and live with our carers, families and staff pull together to help them settle in and give any help they can to the household. There is always lots to think of and to do when children first move in and it’s lovely see our foster carers helping each other with practical things, as well as emotional support and sometimes respite. I know that one of our carers has helped several families, by sorting out their internet safety settings and other’s have helped with additional toys and clothes as well. 

It truly is a team effort, which means that children coming to live with us, always seem to feel confident and part of the wider Soundly family really very quickly. 

This month, Fostertalk will attend our carer support group and will explain in more detail how the membership, we have with them, is there to support each carer and us as an Agency. 

If you would like to become a foster carer, we would love to hear from you! We are never too busy to tell you more about joining the Soundly team. 

Oct 2023:

Our youth council decided they wanted to be called a teen council. This month they met and talked about all of the things they need to know and be able to do by the time they are 18. They created their own independence check list and told us they would like us to share this with their foster carers.

The half term family day was a success too, this time it was run by some of our foster carers who brought masks and cakes to decorate, whilst we brought the pumpkins for carving. We invited children’s brothers and sisters along and it really was lots of fun. 

We also completed Sensi training with Norfolk Steps, giving us lots of additional ideas and ways of meeting different sensory needs for some of our children.  

Sep 2023:

The standout event for this month, has been the Safeguarding and Criminal Exploitation training provided to us by Andy at CYP First. You can find his company at https://cypfirst.co.uk

Safeguarding is at the heart of everything we do and Andy brought this alive in a way that we had not experienced with other Safeguarding training. It also made us aware of some of the things to be alert to on the internet and many of our carers checked again through the apps used on their children’s phones, as soon as we had completed the training.

Aug 2023:

We have an information table and will be at the Forum in Norwich on the 9th and 31st of August, come and say hello, or give us a call.

The summer holidays are here and many of our children are enjoying the additional time at home, relaxing and going on day trips, or away. One of our foster carers said recently that she loves the freedom of the holidays, not having any school runs and everyone feeling more at ease.

The weather has been quite windy and wet, which means that we are waiting until there is a sunny day to all meet on the beach at Gorleston, as this is one of our favourite outings altogether. 

This month we decided to arrange an assault course at the Charles Burrell Centre for our children and there will be other activities for those who would like a slightly quieter time. 

We are also excited to have formed a youth council, who will start to tell us if there is anything the agency can do better and we will keep you updated as to what they say. 

July 2023:

Our fostering families have had lots of celebrations connected to schools and learning in this summer term. Some of our children who had previously struggled with their education, are now attending full school days and enjoying them. Another of our boys recently played guitar in a Suffolk music festival and other young people have been to their school Prom’s and College parties. 

The lead up to the end of term is busy for our foster carers, but we still like to support each other and have decided to repeat our summer walk around a lake. 

Last year, we enjoyed this and many carers brought their dogs, who are important members of the fostering household’s too. 

June 2023:

At the beginning of this month, we held a stall at the Suffolk Show, it was a busy two days recruiting foster carers. 

We have also been going to the Forum in Norwich every month and generally getting out and about talking to people, letting them know what you need to do to become a foster carer, or to transfer from another agency to Soundly. 

We have talked to several families, who have wondered whether you can foster while your own children are growing up and the answer is a resounding ‘yes’!

Our experience, is that becoming a foster sibling can be just as rewarding an experience for the children, already in the family, as it is for the parents who foster. In addition, we like people considering fostering to know that Soundly Fostering will support every member of your family in the way that suits you. 

This aspect is best described by the words of one of our carers children who recently said: ‘ I like going on the days out they provide, they are always fun’.

May 2023:

This month, our families enjoyed the King’s Coronation and celebrations, taking part across the country. 

We have continued to embed and talk about our learning from the de-escalation training with Norfolk Steps undertaken last month. It has been good to think about the reasons for dysregulated behaviour and how we can proactively help a child to feel calm or understand their feelings, rather than being reactive in our responses. 

April 2023:

Sarah our support worker has just started in post with us. She met many of our children on our family day and will be closely supporting some of them. 

We met at Hirsty’s Farm for our family day out. It was brilliant, there was something to do for everyone. Some of the children held the newborn lambs and even our foster carers and staff had a go on the barrel train. I am not sure who enjoyed the day more, the children or adults!

We have also just had another Panel who recommended transferring carers for approval with Soundly Fostering. Another family attended for a glowing first annual review.

If you are considering fostering, please do pick up the phone and speak with us. We are more than happy to put you in touch with some of our carers as well, who can tell you more about the day to day life of being a foster carer.

March 2023:

This month our first full Ofsted inspection report was published. We have been rated ‘Good’ in all areas and are delighted that the inspector recognised the commitment and high standards of care provided by our foster carers, who are both professional and nurturing, allowing children to feel secure and happy.

The report states the following:

• Foster carers feel valued and exceptionally well supported by a dedicated team.
• Foster carers and staff describe an organisational culture of respect, integrity and honesty.
• The agency staff and foster carers work exceptionally well together to help and support children.

February 2023:

We have been busy with training again this month, making sure that all of our foster carers and staff are trained in Paediatric First Aid. It was really helpful, as the trainer brought the defibrillator and models for us to practice on and really make sure that we know what to do in an emergency.

January 2023:

January saw a celebration of our first year registered with Ofsted, as well as our first support group of 2023.

We spent some time planning and thinking about different ideas for days out and activities the children might like to do together and talked about ways of supporting their interests over the year. 

We also invited a couple, who were thinking of fostering with us, to part of our support group and they were able to meet other foster carers as well as our team. 

This was a really nice way for them to experience the friendly atmosphere, laughter and support, foster carers give to each other and to hear more about being a foster carer with the Soundly team.

Dec 2022:

We have lot’s to celebrate, as this will be Soundly Fostering’s first festive season with children and carers getting together.

We will be going to the pantomime and will look forward to seeing our foster carers for a Christmas support group and meal as well.

Our fostering families are such good supports to each other.

If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer and would like to talk to our carers about fostering, we can arrange this.

Nov 2022:

This month our foster carers and staff were pleased to receive therapeutic parenting training from Helen at Proactive Approaches.

It was good to think about children’s development from birth through to adulthood and understand some of the effects that sad or difficult events can have on children and how to respond in a trauma informed way. 

We found, there was so much to talk about that we booked an additional day, which we enjoyed as well!

Oct 2022:

Two households, already experienced foster carers, have decided to transfer from being Local Authority carers and join our smaller and more personalised team.

Both families attended our family BBQ in the Summer and have been meeting with Gemma, to complete their transfer reports. It has been a pleasure getting to know them and we are delighted that they will be attending our panel later this month.

In half term, children and families will be meeting again. This time we will all be jumping on the trampoline, as we thought that would be fun for all ages.

Remember, our ‘Open office Tuesdays’. It would be lovely to see people for a chat and a tea!

Sep 2022:

We have started to hold ‘Open office Tuesdays’, anyone wishing to talk about fostering or considering becoming a foster carer, can pop in for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat.
There is no need to book an appointment in advance, as there will always be a social worker on hand to spend time with you.

There has also been lots happening for our families, with children going back to school and some young people starting college for the first time and enjoying slightly more freedom and responsibility. This meant that our foster carers had lots to talk about when they met at the Charles Burrell Centre this month, to support each other.
  

Aug 2022:

Late July we had our foster carer support group with a difference, for which we met up and walked our dogs in Norfolk’s beautiful Whitlingham Country Park.

We also had lots of fun meeting up with our fostering families at the beach this month. People chatted, built sandcastles, buried each other in the sand and swam in the sea. The next day one of our carers said that he could not believe how well the boys had slept after that day. Some of the children invited their social workers which was something new for us, but it was great for us all to meet socially in a different environment.

We are looking forward to our next get together at Thetford Lodge later this month, with a BBQ and crazy golf.

For those of you thinking about fostering, please know that we are a friendly team and we would love to support you in your fostering journey, do get in touch…...
  

July 2022:

We are really excited to be training with Mary-Anne Hodd this month!
We will be doing her session ‘Let’s talk about words’.

She can be found at https://www.maryannehodd.co.uk/ which will tell you more about Mary-Anne’s work around language, hearing the voice of the child and making positive changes.

We have already been thinking a lot about the language we use surrounding foster care and are wanting to make sure that children living with our families feel at home, rather than having to hear some of the words which professionals have traditionally used, such as ‘placement’, which feels like it depicts the system rather than a home.

I look forward to telling you how our training with Mary-Anne goes and about some more of the changes we all decide to make……
  

June 2022:

June started with our family day, in the same week as the Queen’s Jubilee. Of course, our bake-off, which took place in a real professional kitchen, was appropriately themed, using red, white and blue icing!
After lunch, children and some of the adults had a go at a martial arts/self-defence taster class and foster carers were treated to a relaxation session.
All in all, a great day!

Asa has been planning other family fun days for the summer holidays and everyone is pleased that there will be a BBQ and picnic on at least one of these days.

Soundly’s families are growing. Our panel met on the 20th of June, with the joyful task of recommending approval for new foster carers.
They were welcomed by everyone when we met recently and given advice and support, just in time for the children who are about to come and live with them.  

May 2022:

Having attended our panel, seven fostering families have joined us this month.

We are so excited and have been planning for them already.

Our first support group, with our new families, will take place this week. We will be asking them what would feel supportive and how they would like future groups to run. Foster carer Peter, has already suggested that we start to invite people who are interested in fostering, to join part of our support groups and meet other carers. We think that’s a great idea!

Gemma and Asa, joined our staff team at the beginning of this month. They are both excited to be working as part of a small and personalised fostering Agency.

Asa has been busy planning our first family activity day for June and speaking to all of our families.

Gemma has been writing the newsletter for all of the children who have joined Soundly Fostering and will ask them about what they would like to hear about in future issues. She is also visiting and getting to know our new families.

April 2022:

When speaking to foster carer Sarah recently, she said: ‘fostering is all about relationships’. This made us think about the fact that so much has been virtual and online during the pandemic and how we meet with people. 

We thought it would be great to make ourselves available to speak and connect with people personally, in all of the areas we cover.

We are starting in our office location in Norfolk, by having coffee/tea and chat mornings in the Engine Room Café, situated in the Charles Burrell Centre, on the first Tuesday of every month.

Please feel free to join us for the first of these mornings on Tuesday 5th April, between 9:30-11:30am.

March 2022:

It’s been a busy month!

Our first preparation to foster training took place in March, facilitated by Jenna, an experienced fostering referrals coordinator and social worker.

Some of the topics included were: heritage and identity, the role of the foster carer and fostering agency and how the team around the child works.

Two of the families who attended, are now well underway with their assessments and we hope that they will be approved to foster by June.

Foster carers transferring to us, have also been meeting with us and reflecting on life as a fostering family.

It has been great to look back on their journey, and an opportunity for us to learn exactly how we can support them, once they have joined Soundly. Reports have been prepared and the families are ready to attend our panel.

In preparation of our first panel in April, all of our Panel members attended training. They were able to meet each other and find out more about their different professions and the knowledge their backgrounds can bring to the process. 

They tell us they are excited to meet the first families coming to Soundly Fostering.  

fostering agency
February 2022:

This month has seen a big shout out to recruiting carers across Essex and Norfolk. We have been meeting with lovely people, new to fostering and wanting to make a difference, as well as carers wanting to transfer to us from larger agencies.

We are delighted to have several families in assessment.

They tell us that they have chosen us because:

• we are small and offer a personalised service which will recognise them as individuals
• the support we have already given them, feels bespoke and personal to them
• they would like to be part of an agency which is not corporate and which allows for new ideas.
• of the personal connections with our team
• our focus on the importance of everyone in the household.

Our links with the surrounding Local Authorities have been growing too. They have been asking about our families and are keen that we let them know as soon as they are ready to welcome children.

24th January 2022:

Last week, the long-awaited Ofsted registration visit happened. We were pleased to be able to demonstrate and talk through everything that is in place and ready for carers and children to join Soundly Fostering.

Ofsted have granted our Registration.

We are open!

Joy and Kat are so excited that the next part of our journey, will be made together with those of you who share our aim of providing loving homes and opportunities for children.

January 2022:

We have been delighted to start the New Year so positively, with lots of people engaging in our social media posts and looking at the website. Feedback has been really enthusiastic and some of you have already picked up the phone and had some conversations, expressing your interest of joining us as carers, once we are fully open.

It’s definitely not too early to pick up the phone!

This month we are preparing the last bits for our Ofsted registration visit, making sure that the final policies and documents are in place and that they meet with the Inspector’s approval. We will let you know as soon as we are officially open.

Some of our panel members will be attending training together this month and getting to know each other. Meanwhile, Joy and Kat are continuing to have varied and positive conversations with people and services that could help support the Agency and work together cooperatively.

fostering agency
December 2021:

We attended a conference on developmental trauma and neurodevelopmental disorders and completed some more interviews for panel members and Independent social workers. We are excited that our team is growing. 

Kat and Joy then met with a wonderful play therapist, who explained the use of sand in her sessions, saying that sand is always special and has the effect of allowing children to tell their story and feel safe. 

Yesterday, Ofsted let us know that they will visit in January, so it has been a full and exciting week!

fostering panel
Panel Vacancies:

We are currently looking for people with a background in health or police, to join our fostering panel.

For further details please call 01842 818793 or email us here

News | Blog | Soundly Fostering | Thetford | Norfolk