A celebratory event for the children in our care and their foster families was held at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in December. Children aged 5-17 years old took part in fun activities inside Action Stations helping provide them with a ‘Christmas to remember’.
Children who attended may not have had the support network around them at this time of year, making this celebratory event even more important. Foster carers and their families play an essential role in supporting children throughout the year in Portsmouth.
One of the six year olds in our care Matthew*, who loved climbing the wall and the Laser Quest, said: “It was awesome! The lunch was awesome and I was super excited to get a raffle present!”
Matthew has complex additional needs including some sight and hearing challenges and general delay, and has experienced some early life trauma.
His foster carer, Jo, reported: “For me personally, the day was a great success. I got to spend quality time with Matthew, some of his friends, and lots of my friends and colleagues.”
“The food was lovely. I enjoyed a wonderful gluten free meal, specially prepared for me because I have a dietary restriction. The children’s buffet food looked great, too.”
The celebratory event at Action Stations also provided an opportunity for social care practitioners to thank foster carers who support children in their homes every day.
Our dedicated Mockingbird hub carers and committed team of social care practitioners and ‘virtual school’ colleagues arrange regular social events and activities to support these remarkable foster families and the children in their care, and to provide them with an opportunity to celebrate, provide mutual support and relax together as a community. Events have included panto trips, picnics and sailing trips, as well as this most recent day at Action Stations.
Jo continued: “The event was great for bringing foster carers together with lots of staff from different areas of the social care team and education. Seeing lots of our children enjoying time together with so many of the adults who support them was really special.”
Jo ended: “It was the best Christmas event I’ve been to. I hope we can do it again.”
Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:
“The children we care for deserved to have a Christmas to remember, full of fun and laughter. We know that every child in care will have their own unique experience, but we want to do our bit to support them at this time of year.”
“Action Stations is the perfect venue where children can be themselves and enjoy their time together. I hope everyone had a fantastic time at this year’s event, creating memorable experiences that will last for a long time to come.”
Social care practitioners co-ordinated a range of activities throughout the day including Laser Quest, climbing, card making, face painting, cake decoration and arts and crafts alongside Father Christmas and Portsmouth Football Club mascot, Nelson.
Social worker Jill shared: “The event was well planned and organised. The children seemed to have a great time and enjoyed all the activities. It was lovely to see them all relaxed and having fun. I helped on the biscuit and cake decorating and couldn’t believe how talented they all were! They put me to shame. I hope it set the Christmas Holidays off to a good start and I look forward to sharing the fun with them all next year.”
Sam Bushby, deputy director, children and families at Portsmouth City Council said: “The children we care for event is now in its 16th year and continues to be enjoyed by those who attend. This has been a true team effort from across the council as well as outside organisations pulling together to make things possible.”
“This was a fantastic celebration event for the children we care for. I’m hugely grateful to all those who worked together to create such an amazing day to celebrate their achievements.”
Social worker Dave shared: “The event was well organised, had a great variety of things for the young people to do and they all seemed to enjoy it. The foster carers also appeared to have a good time and the food was good!”
Foster Portsmouth, Portsmouth City Council’s fostering service, offer their foster carers fantastic allowances for the children in their care, thorough training and continuing 24/7 support, access to the award-winning Mockingbird model of care, discounts and benefits, social activities, and free membership to The Fostering Network.
Our foster carers come from all walks of life, and they all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life. Foster Portsmouth welcomes all enquiries about fostering regardless of age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital, residential or work status.
Learn more about our virtual school which ensures that all children and young people in our care have educational provision that meets their need and that they receive the support they need to fulfil their potential: www.portsmoutheducationpartnership.co.uk/inclusion/the-virtual-school.
Stronger Futures is the children’s social care recruitment brand from Portsmouth City Council. Qualified and experienced social workers are needed to support children, young people and families across the city. The ‘children we care for’ event held at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was organised by social care practitioners for children aged 5 – 17 years old and their foster carers. For more details on Stronger Futures, visit: www.strongerfutures.co.uk.
*Name changed to protect identity.
Photo courtesy of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Action Stations. Children in our care do not feature in imagery to protect their privacy.