An innovative programme which offers a network of extra support to local foster carers has just celebrated its first year of success.
The Mockingbird Programme, which is offered by less than 20 organisations nationwide, was rolled out by Slough Children’s Services Trust last September. Using an extended family model, it works by building a supportive community around foster carers, effectively replicating an extended family. This extra support means foster carers are better able to meet the needs of the children and young people in their care.
Six foster families make up SCST’s Mockingbird group, which is led by Sam and Des Cox who are the central hub home carers for the programme, providing respite care, peer support, training and social activities. The group got together last Wednesday, at Arbour Park in Slough, to celebrate their first milestone with some pizza, cake and games.
It’s been a fantastic first year for our Mockingbird group. The foster carers and children have all bonded so well. We’ve not only overcome challenges together, we’ve had some truly great times, just like any family. It’s a real pleasure to be leading this,” said Sam.
Karen Lawton is also part of the programme, along with her two foster children:
“Mockingbird has been a great addition to our foster family and we love being part of it. Sam and Des have provided practical help and support at all times of the day and night to our family and a non-judgemental listening ear and sound advice for myself. The children love visiting Sam and Des’ for a sleepover. We’ve done some lovely things as a group such as climbing and bowling and we all really look forward to meeting up.”
Saima Arif, who is the Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) service manager for SCST said:
“It’s been a fantastic first year for our Mockingbird Programme and our families involved are really seeing the benefits. Thanks to Sam and Des for being such inspirational home hub carers! Anyone interested in fostering might be interested to know that we offer a range of support including full training, generous allowances, an out-of-hours service and social events. Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more, there’s a real need right now in Slough.”
To find out more about Mockingbird Programme, or fostering in general, visit Slough Children’s Services Trust’s website at www.sloughchildrenfirst.co.uk, or contact their fostering team by phoning 0800 0730291 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org