Dear foster families and children,
I hope you are all keeping well as we come towards to end of an extraordinary year. Who could have imagined, as we approached the end of 2019, that our lives would have been so different 12 months down the line and that we would be hearing people us words and phrases like ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolation’, ‘getting myself tested’, and ‘lockdown’ with a knowing weariness, rather than utter bemusement. As adults, we can make sense of a fair amount of the madness that we have lived through, irrespective of how we might feel about it. Along with many, I do worry about the long term impact on children, some of whom might now only have fairly vague recollections of what life used to be like. That said, children are said to be incredibly resilient and able to change better than a lot of adults, so perhaps they will come through this less scathed that some of those who are a lot older than them.
I appreciate that you will have read dozens (hundreds, even) of articles about coronavirus and its impact over the last few months and are sick to the back teeth of it. I also understand that some of those articles will have been forwarded to you by FP and that another one could tip you over the edge. However, it can be useful to have resources to be able to refer back to when you need them most, and a lot of people found this toolkit particularly helpful when it was published by Mentally Healthy Schools earlier in the year: https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-resources-for-building-resilience-toolkit-6/
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to you for hanging in there with the children you look after and for staying loyal to Fostering People during 2020. Difficult times often bring out the best in people, but I also understand that the circumstances in which you have had to live your lives will have made things significantly tougher at times and that the service you have been accustomed to receiving from us might have felt different, in spite of all our teams’ best efforts. Thank you for your patience, understanding and kindness. For those of you who only joined FP this year, I hope your early experiences of the agency have been as positive as possible and that we are able to build on these greatly in 2021.
As we approach Christmas, I am very conscious that it is going to be very different to usual this year. In the same way as our Hindu, Sikh and Jain families had to find innovative ways of celebrating Diwali in November and, even though lockdown conditions were slightly less severe back then, Eid al-Adha was unlike any other for Muslims at the end of July, those who celebrate Christmas are not going to be able to see as many family members, go to parties, meet up spontaneously, as they are accustomed to. I am sure that you will all be thinking of ways in which to ensure you and your children enjoy themselves as much as possible. If, like me, you need to look to others for inspiration, here are a couple of links that you might find useful: https://harrogate.mumbler.co.uk/christmas-ideas-on-lockdown/; https://www.hannahbullivant.com/blog/ideas-for-a-joyful-lockdown-christmas.
I hope the rest of the year goes well for you and very much hope that we are able to see one another face to face at our next forums in later spring or early summer next year.
Very best wishes,