Somerset County Council’s foster care recruitment campaign ‘Theo’s Story’ was highly commended last night (20 July) at a prestigious national awards ceremony.
Theo’s Story was recognised in the ‘Campaign of the Year’ category at the Local Government Chronicle Awards, with judges describing the entry as ‘incredibly creative, passionate and hard to criticise’.
The focus of Theo’s Story was a short 40 second video which ran online – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OT-VKcps6g – and via Sky advertising over an eight-week period with the aim of encouraging more foster carers to step forward.
It tells the story of a young bear called Theo who struggles alone in the forest until he is ‘fostered’ by an adult bear, helping him thrive once more.
Over 500 children and young people in Somerset are currently looked after by Somerset County Council. Foster carers play an important part in changing and improving their story, but many more are needed.
The film was supported by outdoor and radio advertising with further promotion via Somerset libraries, a creative writing competition and hidden pebbles across Somerset with QR codes with a chance to win Festival tickets.
The success of the campaign led to an increase in foster care enquiries, a 44% increase in foster carer approvals, 48% increase in website traffic and 26 new foster carers recruited.
Cllr Tessa Munt, Executive Lead for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council said: “Our foster carers are our unsung heroes who nurture, support and inspire our children and young people when their own families are unable to. But we need more foster carers and are always looking at new ways to promote the benefits of fostering – for both children and carers. ‘Theo’s Story’ is a great campaign which brought real results, transforming the lives of many young people in need and saving taxpayer’s thousands of pounds. I’m delighted that ‘Theo’s Story’ and the campaign’s success has been recognised at the highest level.”
Foster carers need to be aged 21+ with a spare room. If you are interested in finding out more about fostering in Somerset, check out www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 587 9900.
Notes to editors
Photo attached shows from left to right: Matthew Randles, Operations Manager Fostering, Somerset County Council; Michelle Mitchell, Communications Officer, Somerset County Council and Ray Marett – AdIQ