Once weekly/fortnightly – on agreement
"Fostering In Somerset" is calling for members of the public to come forward and support local foster families within the community. As part of a new initiative, we're looking for individuals and businesses in the Taunton area who feel they could offer opportunities, or even just their time, to nearby foster families and the young people in their care. As the saying goes 'it takes a village to raise a child'. The initiative is a feasibility research study that is looking at the type of support that foster carers and children looked after need. The study will finish in March / April 2021, but there may be the potential to continue to volunteer past the end date of the study.
We are looking for volunteers to work with a child or young person in a foster care placement, enabling them to have the opportunity to have a consistent and trusted adult of their own, who is outside of their professional network of support. This will give the child or young person the chance to build a relationship with someone outside of the placement and to support their social and emotional wellbeing. It is also to allow the foster carer to have some informal respite whilst the child or young person is with the volunteer. Examples of support that could be provided:
– 1:1 support/online support. This is informal support and a chance for the child or young person to talk about their life, or it could be for the volunteer to support with completing homework, writing a CV, applying for a job etc;
– Driving to/from positive leisure activity and supporting with this e.g. a club;
– Taking the young person out of placement for a break e.g. to a café, for a drive;
– Taking child out for a day trip;
– Baking, arts and crafts, veggie patch, football etc with the child.
Volunteers can be anyone living locally who has an interest in supporting children living in care or who can bring different life experiences (through using their own expertise) to a child or young person’s life that would enhance an area of interest, e.g. media, mechanics, fashion, hair and beauty etc. The volunteer could also mentor the child or young person in relation to this topic and into education/employment/training if the child/young person is older.
Volunteers need to be mindful that children in care are vulnerable and as such have a range of complexities. This can lead to frustrations, anger, trauma related symptoms and aggression at times. The volunteer will be supported through initial training to manage this.
We want to build a sense of community and belonging for all our children in care, many of whom have come from difficult situations and/or have experienced trauma. However much or little you can offer or help – we’d love to hear from you.