2023 was a hugely significant year for TACT as we celebrated 30 years of creating better lives for children, young people and care experienced adults. We marked this with an event in Manchester where all our staff across the UK joined together to celebrate the successes of our foster carers and young people.
Every day across 2023, our foster carers and our staff in all teams across the UK were working hard to make an incredible contribution to the lives of young people. Whether it was big weekends away or small gestures to improve a child’s daily experience, our staff and foster carers roles have been profound. We wanted to celebrate the positive impact our young people have felt throughout the year by focussing on some of the highlights across all our teams.
Our Yorkshire & North East team had their first residential stay for young people since pre-Covid times, with 20 children attending a 3 day stay at Lineham Farm, featuring a range of outdoor activities. Our teams in London & The South and East London also enjoyed a residential trip to Bewl Water, with 49 children and staff attending the 3 day stay and enjoying activities such as sailing boat races, paddle boarding and rock climbing. All the young people who attended made our staff very proud, and most wanted to stay for even longer!
“Thank you, to you and TACT for all your support. I couldn’t have managed without [our social worker]; she is always there for me and has helped me through some very difficult times. She not only listens to me for hours but offers ideas and coping mechanisms for me and the boys. It is a pleasure working for TACT”. – TACT Yorkshire & North East Foster Carer
Across the country, plenty of days out and activities were enjoyed by our young people, staff & carers which provided positivity and enjoyment for all. A highlight in Wales was an event at Llangranog with plenty of outdoor activities for young people, while in Scotland, day’s out at M&D’s Theme Park, Glasgow Science Centre and Irn Bru Festival were enjoyed by all. Some of the South West’s favourite activities for young people and their carers included a visit to Longleat, watching The Lion King at Bristol Hippodrome and visiting the Harry Potter Studios, while the North West team received positive feedback from carers, staff and young people on all their events held, but particularly an activity day in the Lake District, and a summer picnic in the park.
The team in Scotland held an event at Blair Drummond Safari Park celebrating 15 years of our fostering service in Scotland, which was attended by over 130 staff, carers and young people. Our longest serving foster carers received awards and it was brilliant to see so many foster families having fun and making friends with one another. 30 years of TACT was also celebrated in Wales with an anniversary event, where the day was spent singing songs, partaking in activities, and recognising the achievements of children through our Children’s Awards.
Throughout the year, our foster carers continued to go above and beyond to make an impact on the lives of young people in care. In South London, foster carers co-hosted a Charity Summer Ball which raised an incredible £1,200 for children’s activities. Carers also attended Bourne Free (Bournemouth Pride) to speak to people attending the event about fostering, while more fantastic carers in the North West were in attendance with a stall at Liverpool Pride to spread the word about fostering. In East London, we were incredibly proud of foster carers who were invited to 10 Downing Street during Foster Care Fortnight to attend an event which celebrated foster carers and the vital role they play in improving the lives of children and young people in the care system. The event was attended by Children’s Minister’s who heard from our carers about the role they do day in, day out.
“The entire experience at 10 Downing Street has not only strengthened our resolve to give the best care to the foster children in our care, but it has also reconfirmed our belief that foster caring is a work of the heart”. – TACT East London foster carers
The constant development of the support we provide to foster carers has been another highlight of 2023. In the West Midlands, carer support has increased via one-to-one support, therapeutic short breaks, coffee mornings, new carer groups and agencies being invited to groups. The East Midlands team have received great feedback from foster families who feel well supported, without pressure to make the right decisions for their young people, while in Yorkshire & the North East carers are providing good feedback about feeling supported and valued by the organisation.
The support we provide to foster carers has expanded from our area social work teams and features an Education Service, who developed post-16 support to include a results day phone line, 1-1 sessions to create bespoke revision plans and created a careers advice service. Meanwhile, TACT Connect, who celebrated 5 years of activity in 2023, have built a community of 155 care experienced members aged 15 – 32. They’ve continued to be a safe space where members feel empowered to share their opinions, raise their voice and feel comfortable to co-create both a varied and consistent community. As a leading charity in the sector, TACT have continued to be at the forefront of conversations in public regarding care, with public responses to the DfE’s Children’s Social Care Implementation strategy, and the government’s Spring Budget tax break for foster carers.
The reason our foster carers do what they do ultimately is to improve outcomes for young people, and our East Midlands team have loved being a part of the young people’s journeys towards achieving amazing outcomes -such as settling down, feeling just a bit safer or learning new skills. In the South West, positive outcomes over the year have included children moving on to adoption, achieving academically and being supported in moving on to independence. Meanwhile, the West Midlands team commented on children’s achievements and development in many areas, including excelling in hobbies, young people remaining in contact with carers after moving on, staying put placements and progressing on to college and university.
There have been so many highlights in 2023 and we’re incredibly proud of our young people’s accomplishments, and their foster carers who have enabled them to achieve them. Here’s to many more in 2024!