Somerset children launch Foster Care Fortnight 2016!

*Foster Care Fortnight, Monday 16 to Sunday 29 May 2016*

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An exuberant art exhibition created by Somerset 11 to 16 year olds who are currently in care is launching Foster Care Fortnight 2016. On Monday 16 May the children and young people’s ‘Dreams and Aspirations’ exhibition opens to the public for three weeks at Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre.

Somerset County Council’s Foster Care Fortnight includes several special events to help raise the profile of fostering in Somerset, and encourage people to think about fostering themselves.  We are urging local people to come forward and become Foster Carers, especially for secondary school-age children in Somerset – one of its biggest areas of need.

The children and young people created their art across two days at Bridgwater’s Rollercoaster youth centre, working with a tireless team of enthusiastic volunteers from across Somerset.

Each of the children and young people’s individual art projects captures their hopes and aspirations for the future, or the stuff of dreams; things that matter most to them or excite, interest and energise them. Their pieces come together in a bright mishmash of styles, spanning abstract dreamscapes, Marvel-style costumes, bold colour and character, photography, splashes of paint, and streams of textiles.

It even features a giant willow dream-catcher that all the children helped to create, and which will tour Somerset Libraries after the Brewhouse exhibition, with Yeovil its first stop.

Above all, the exhibition aims to highlight the children’s individuality and creativity.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said: “The children have been really engaged and excited to work on their projects, and we’re just as excited to give them this experience and to celebrate them. We’d love as many people in the county to come and see their work, so please do!

“Our greatest need is for people who can care, and be there for, secondary school-age children who are unable to live with their birth families. Our work is on-going to find people who can foster and help turn a child’s life around – the whole of the South West needs some 600 new Foster Carers in 2016 alone.

“Please get in touch if you think you could foster for Somerset. Whatever your circumstances, gender, sexuality or ethnicity, what we care about most is what you have to offer a child. It could be the start of the most rewarding thing you ever do.”

Dreams and Aspirations opens at The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, TA1 1JL, on Monday 16 May until Friday 4 June 2016. The theatre is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 12pm to 4pm on Saturdays (later on performance nights).

Also taking place to spread the word in Foster Care Fortnight 2016:

  • Two information evenings: Thursday 19 May at Costa Coffee in Wells, BA5 2SG, 7pm-9pm and Monday 23 May at Taunton’s Holiday Inn, TA1 2UA, 7pm-9pm
  • A mighty trek by the Somerset Fostering Recruitment Service to Snowdon’s summit to raise funds for the independent Somerset Foster Care Association

Find out how you can make a difference as a Foster Carer in Somerset – visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, phone 0800 587 9900, ‘like’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page or follow @fostersomerset on Twitter.

Our huge thanks to the following for their time, energy, enthusiasm and support:

  • All the children and young people who got involved
  • Art project volunteers Helen and Jade Adone, Harry Clarke, Adam Grose, Amie Harvey, Michelle Jones, Margaret Micklewright and Rebecca Thomas
  • The Brewhouse Theatre – for hosting the exhibition
  • The Voice of the Child and Children’s Social Care staff for their hard work volunteering, and councillors Frances Nicholson, Leigh Redman and Christine Lawrence for their support
  • Youth Unlimited CIC – for their professional input
  • Cllr Linda Vijeh, for a fantastic spread for lunch
  • Somerset College, for donating mannequins for the display
  • In2Beds Taunton, for loaning us a decorative ‘jess’ bed for the exhibition.

 

Notes to Editors

Media are invited to a special launch event of ‘Dreams and Aspirations’ on Tuesday 17 May at The Brewhouse, 5.30pm-7pm. Please RSVP to Daisy at dblacklock@somerset.gov.uk by Wednesday 11 May if you are attending.

The Somerset Foster Care Association (SFCA) is a voluntary organisation run by Somerset foster carers for foster carers. The Association aims to bring foster carers in Somerset together, providing them with a stronger voice that could influence and develop support services in the county.