Fostering is everything I thought it would be and nothing like I thought it would be

Diagrama hosts first Foster Carer's Awards

This month Diagrama Fostering hosted the very first and prestigious Foster Carer awards 2021.The awards took place over Zoom and it was fantastic great to see so many people attend the evening. The aim of the awards was to recognise and celebrate all of the hard work and outstanding achievements of our foster carers and social workers over the last year. It has been a very challenging year due to Covid-19 restrictions with our foster carers and social workers having to adapt to a new way of working.

Our Diagrama foster carers and social workers are caring and child-focused, they provide excellent care and support for children and the children are at the heart of everything they do and every decision they make.

Margaret Gardiner, Diagrama's Adoption and Fostering Team Manager speaking at the awards said “Fostering is full of the unexpected and seeing the progress that the children make is incredible and we are very privileged to be able to see that, whether or not it’s through fostering ourselves or supporting our foster carers.”

During the awards we asked our Foster carers, what does fostering mean to them? One foster carer said

“Fostering is everything I thought it would be and nothing like I thought it would be.”

A very empowering statement about the realistic expectations of foster care.

After introductions and a discussion about what fostering means to all our foster carers the evening continued with an online escape room that was a huge hit with the Diagrama team and foster carers, it brought everyone together to work as a team to solve the clues and escape! Amazingly it was completed in 45minutes! What great team work from all! Then we were delighted to be able to shine a spotlight on some of the incredible people that work with Diagrama.

There were four awards awarded on the night

Long service awards - 5 year award

This award was given to 5 foster carers who have fostered with Diagrama for over 5 years. Thanks from Diagrama were given to the recipients for their commitment to fostering and for the children in their care. It’s great to have them all as part of the Diagrama family.

Foster Carer who has shown a commitment to training award

This award was given to an individual who went over and beyond, who really wanted to develop themselves to help the children that they care for. Their social worker said “This person always completes every training module sent to her, she always asks for additional training on specific topics if she feels she can learn new skills or develop herself. She has contributed to our recruitment evenings and shares her experiences and insights about being a foster carer and she gives so much to the agency.”

Staff member of the year

This award was given to Hannah, Margaret Gardiner Diagrama’s Adoption and Fostering Team Manager said “Hannah has been exceptional in the support and wisdom she has provided, she’s been honest when we’ve needed to hear it but in a compassionate way. She has ensured we all work together with the foster child’s social work team, she’s thought for information that was required and she’s been there when we’ve needed it. As new foster carers this has been phenomenal.”

Foster Carer of the year

This foster carer has shown perseverance despite a tricky and challenging start to her fostering career, understanding what is right for the children she cares for. They have supported the local authority understanding the child’s needs more, in order to get the placement absolutely right. They are not afraid to step up to the challenge and put their views across.

Natalie Lohneis, Diagrama’s Head of Adoption & Fostering Services said “We have received some fantastic feedback from our first foster carer awards event. It was good fun navigating the escape room challenge, thankfully the carers were very good at it, without them I think I might still be locked in! I was delighted to present the award for foster carer of the year; this went to a very deserving recipient. There were lots of nominations demonstrating the great work our foster carers are doing. We hope to be able to hold the awards in person next year. From everyone at Diagrama we would like to thank our foster carers and social workers for the fabulous invaluable care and dedication you have all shown.”