The launch of the John Lewis Christmas advert for 2022 successfully highlights the excellent work and caring nature of the nation’s foster carers.
The advert, entitled ‘The Beginner’, is a truly distinctive Christmas message about caring for others, and emphasizes the amazing work foster carers do every day to ensure children and young people have a positive and loving experience in foster care when they’re unable to remain with their own families.
This year’s eagerly anticipated commercial features a skateboard-mad teenage girl who comes to live with a foster couple in the lead-up to Christmas. In advance of her arrival, in an effort to connect with her, the male foster carer attempts to learn to skateboard with a few falls, knocks and bruises along the way. However, echoing the determination our foster carers demonstrate every day, he does not give up and is then able to strike up a conversation with the girl immediately after her social worker has settled her with them.
Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Group Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, said:
“By focusing on the dedication of foster carers in their 2022 Christmas advert, John Lewis has successfully drawn attention to this vital topic.”
“We have 386 children in foster care in Portsmouth, a large number of whom are teenagers. Portsmouth City Council is in great need of additional foster carers for many of these vulnerable young people in our city. If you have a son or daughter who has flown the nest, or you already have a spare bedroom, and you feel you could provide a home for a child in need in Portsmouth, please consider taking that next step today.”
There is a pressing need to find more foster carers for older children and teens in need of a loving home in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, with over two thirds of children in the council’s care aged ten and over.
There are stubborn myths that persist around the fostering of teens and they are often pigeonholed.
However, if they do display any challenging behaviours, it is either typical teen behaviour all teenagers experience or may be born of insecurity, fear and confusion. In fact, if they are shown they are cared for and that someone is taking an interest in their wellbeing, the rewards of caring for older children can be significant.
Zhoura Blakeman has fostered for 15 years with Foster Portsmouth. She says:
“I absolutely love working with young people. They have great personalities. I love to support them and put them on the right track in life, watching them grow as people and seeing them thriving in society as adults.”
“It’s so rewarding to be a foster carer and to give these young people an opportunity to strive forward in life and to have positive outcomes. Fostering is the best thing in the world.”
“There is such an amazing support network and so much training. I have my own social worker who is a regular visitor, and the child has a social worker as well. They’re there to support you. We also have coffee mornings and a regular foster carer lunch where we can all get together and share our stories.”
When placing a child with a foster family, we consider a range of criteria to ensure the best match possible and secure its success. These include not only the age and gender of the child and those of the foster carer’s children, but also the number of children in the home, location, ethnicity and religion, as well as additional factors such as pets. However, the most important consideration is the individual needs of the child and a foster carer’s experience.
Experience of working with or parenting teenagers or young people is an advantage if you would like to help teens to flourish through foster care. However, you’ll receive excellent training, 24/7 support, and you’d be part of an experienced and highly qualified team around the child regardless.
The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. This could be a short or long-term arrangement for a child or siblings until they are ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, parent and baby fostering, or respite care.
Anyone aged 18+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
Foster carers receive excellent support with Foster Portsmouth, including through the pioneering Mockingbird model of care and mentoring scheme, local training , out-of-hours support, and competitive fees and allowances.
Do you have the time and patience to help young people meet their potential?
If you could provide a home for a vulnerable child or young person, or would like to arrange a one-to-one with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, please complete our enquiry form at www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk, call 023 9283 4071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.