Recycle Week 2020 in Leeds

Happy Recycle Week! Here’s some fun things you can do to celebrate.

Enter our Recycle Week competition

Enter our recycle week competition on Facebook or Twitter to be in with a chance of winning recycling board games and story books.

Play a round of recycling bingo

Turn recycling into a fun competition with our recycling bingo cards.

– Print off a card for each person

– Every time you recycle one of the items tick it off

– At the end of the week whoever has the most ticks wins!

Download the full set here

Investigate recycling with Buster and Pong!

Buster and Pong from Recycle Now have made some great videos to teach kids about recycling. Here’s our favourite videos!

Recycling Carton
Recycling Metal
Recycling Plastic

Guidance, activities and creative ideas for families during COVID-19

We hope you are all keeping well at this unprecedented time, and are coping with the changes to normal life as a result of COVID-19. We continue to be amazed by our city-wide partnership, built around our ambition to be a child friendly city!

We are using Child Friendly Leeds social media channels to share details of online learning resources and fun and engaging activities for children and young people to help keep them busy indoors, so if you have anything to share then please let us know so we can support this.


Big thumbs up thank you certificate

DOWNLOAD YOURS HERE!

Let’s give a BIG Child Friendly Leeds thumbs up to all the children and young people in Leeds, and our whole school communities, as they approach the end of what’s been a very different and difficult summer term.  Thanks for everything you’ve been doing to help keep people safe.

If you have children at home, download our Child Friendly Leeds certificate to pass on our appreciation and thanks.


We’ve also written this ultimate guide including the following:

  • Fun & creative ways for families during self-isolation
  • Competitions to enter for young people during COVID-19
  • Educational & useful resources during lockdown
  • Guidance, advice and support for children and families

At home with the Kids?

While you have some extra time, why not enter some exciting competitions? Lot’s of prizes to be won so check out our ‘competitions during Coronavirus’ blog.


Lots of content to help you through these uncertain times and school closures. From garden activities to home learning resources, a perfect starting point for things to do.


Tips, creative activities & events during Covid-19

Working with Leeds Inspired, we have created a page with events in Leeds and are encouraging our ambassadors and partners to register events here.

A list by Leeds City Council working with NHS and Leeds List to pick out the top 21 ways to keep the kids entertained while the schools are closed.


For Lockdown, Families Magazine have created a June digital issue, which is full of the best resources for families – for home schooling, staying safe and well.


From sharing tips about parenting, hosting live Facebook chats with special guests from healthcare and hosting online quizzes. Check out all of their content & exciting news!


Mummy Buddy have moved to the online world on Facebook & Instagram with daily online meet-ups, groups, activities, baby classes, ‘boredom busters’, book clubs and more!


Active Imaginations have shared monthly activities and lots of ideas. Designed to help the little ones get their recommended daily physical activity to help them grow healthily.


We know young people in Leeds are especially passionate about climate change. That’s why to mark Earth Day 2020, we’ve created a toolkit of at-home activities, books and videos especially for young people to keep you busy and help you learn more about global climate change and sustainability.


Child Friendly Leeds Video Message for Children, Young People & Families

Educational Resource Guide

Here at Leeds for Learning, our teams been collating a range of fantastic resources which cover home learning and support for Early Years, Primary and Secondary curriculum areas.


Leeds Libraries & School Library Service have put together lots of resources to support with school and home learning. From online events to free eBooks, eAudio books and eComics.


From online resources for all ages such as BBC bitesize to STEM, there are lots to choose from the government’s initial list of online educational resources to help children to learn at home.


Lots of free reading resources including audio books by Leeds Year of Reading. Whether you’re looking for something for the under 5’s or school-aged children, there is something for everyone.


Healthy Schools in Leeds have published PSHE & SEMH resources for schools, as well as a resource to pass on to parents/carers including information about online safety and wellbeing.


My Bright Kite have released twelve brand new personal testimonial films made by children and young people in migration who attend Lawnswood School, Leeds.

The films include themes such as reasons for leaving home, migration journeys, first impressions of the UK, settling into school, challenges and ways to stay strong, bullying, feeling welcome and supported, key messages for students and teachers, future hopes and aspirations.


Active Leeds has designed a resource pack to encourage children, young people and families to be more physically active whilst promoting mental health and wellbeing. Under 8’s toolkit is called Ready Set Rainbow and The over 8’s Active Leeds toolkit is called Get Active Stay Active.


Sign up to the Leeds City Council weekly Coronavirus newsletter.


Entries to the #OurChildFriendlyLeeds Competition April 2020

The guidance & support in Leeds during the Coronavirus epidemic

During COVID-19, a page with all the factual information and guidance is available on financial support, food, childcare as well as how you can become a volunteer. 


The NHS in Leeds have provided latest health information about Coronavirus, messages around looking after yourself, changes to local appointments and local support. Health services are still available and that people should continue to call 999 for medical emergencies and should call their GP about existing conditions, if they feel unwell, or if they notice new symptoms.


If you’re a young person, MindMate can help you understand the way you’re feeling and find the right advice and support. Find out how to look after your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.


There have been big changes in our lives because of coronavirus, so here is a children’s guide to Coronavirus to help explain the situation.The guide aims to answer children’s questions, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home by the Children’s Commissioner for England.


The 100% Digital Leeds team are using digital tools and technology to prevent the most vulnerable in society from falling off the radar of the organisations that support them. They have also launched a new fund to support third sector organisations in Leeds.


The LSCP recognise that the COVID-19 is putting increasing pressure on all services providing support to children, young people and families and are here to support.


Whether you’re working from home with your kids for the first time or supporting children with anxiety due to Coronavirus, we’ve got tips and advice for you.


Kooth is offering clinically-approved online support for young people who are struggling with their mental health. For information and advice, or to chat to a friendly counsellor. 


Volunteering Opportunities in Leeds

If your change in circumstances means that you are looking for volunteer opportunities, check out Doing Good Leeds which includes things like becoming a community care volunteer in Leeds.

Leeds Baby Bank are looking for volunteers, including somebody to update their website. Click here to fill in an online application form.

A new project ‘Mini Playbox’, which was launched to provide fun and
creativity into the homes of children during lockdown, is looking for volunteers to help source, pack and deliver boxes. They are also looking for ideas and creative materials which could go in the boxes. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to advertise a volunteering opportunity here, please email ChildFriendlyLeeds@leeds.gov.uk


Help if you cannot go out

#StayHomeStaySafe

If you are self-isolating and you do not have friends or family nearby who can help, phone 0113 378 1877.

Our volunteers can help you with shopping, transport to medical appointments, or a phone call to check how you are.


If you have resources, news stories, or want to share your updates, please get in touch via the ‘contact‘ page.

Stay up to date with our blog & newsletter:

Stay Active & Have Fun with these new resources by Active Leeds

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable, the Government has put in place the biggest public health measures during peacetime. As a result, Active Leeds has designed a resource pack to encourage children, young people and families (especially vulnerable families) living in the 1% deprived neighbourhoods to be more physically active whilst promoting mental health and wellbeing. These toolkits provide opportunities for children, young people and families to take part in fun and enjoyable activities indoors and outdoors whilst reducing their sedentary behaviour.

Active Leeds toolkits:

  • Under 8’s toolkit is called Ready Set Rainbow this resource has the capacity to engage with young children due to the creation of 3 colourful and vibrant characters called – Ray the sunshine, Hydro the water droplet and Cirrus the cloud. The children complete one of each type of activity and create a rainbow, which can then be recorded on their wall chart. There are also some short films of activities cards on the Active Leeds You Tube channel.
  • The over 8’s Active Leeds toolkit is called Get Active Stay Active is resource has a slightly more mature design to the activity cards to engage with an older audience. These activity cards provide young people with the opportunity to take part in casual activities indoors and outdoors. We have anticipated that there will be some C&YP who don’t want to take part in physical activity therefore we have created some activity cards to stimulate an active mind such as – colouring, crosswords, word searches and stop the difference cards.

Families, who were previously reliant on the support that school and extra-curricular sessions provide, are now left to fend for themselves to think about how they can engage their children in physical activity. A vacuum has opened up which will have a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable and those living in unstable households. The crisis has in itself created the need for an offer to families to help them engage their children in exercise as well as positive activities and challenges that stimulate and engage the body and minds of young people.

To get involved in activities you will requires little or no equipment at all. If you haven’t got any of the equipment available you can use alternative equipment in your house – for example you may need a ball (if you haven’t got a ball use a pair of socks, pillows, blankets, cushions and music).

There will be hard copies available for vulnerable families who don’t have access to the internet.

Top Ten Tips for Families to Stay Healthy and Happy at Home

The Public Health Children and Families team at Leeds City Council has been working with Active Leeds to develop a resource to share with families. The resource includes an activity pack with great ideas for fun things to do at home, together with an information leaflet which contains useful links, tips and phone numbers to help families stay healthy at home. The leaflet is now available here for downloading.

Active Leeds has designed a resource pack to encourage children, young people and families to be more physically active whilst promoting mental health and wellbeing. Under 8’s toolkit is called Ready Set Rainbow and The over 8’s Active Leeds toolkit is called Get Active Stay Active.


1/ Busy kids=happy kids

Children are happiest when they’re doing something they love. There are loads of ideas for home-based activities, and with so much choice it can be overwhelming. Check out the Child Friendly Leeds ultimate guide as a starting point. Or see the Leeds Inspired website for free online activities like yoga and dance, as well as story-telling, craft sessions, and gaming. The Leeds Libraries hub is also packed with great ideas, from fun at home with authors and illustrators through the Book Trust, to coding workshops and home learning resources. 


2/ Know what to do if your child becomes unwell

It can be so hard to know what action to take when your child is unwell – especially during lockdown. Do you stay at home, call your GP or visit A&E? If in doubt, refer to this quick and useful ‘traffic light’ guide produced by doctors from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.


3/ Your NHS is still here for you

Your GP is still here to help if you or your family have health worries.

For information on your child’s development or issues like sleep routines and toilet training, the 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Service is still offering a service. Visit the website  or call 0113 8435683 to talk to a public health nurse.

Or if you’re aged 11-19, you can text a nurse from Chat Health on 07520 619 750 for confidential support on a range of health issues.


4/ We like to move it, move it…

Being active is essential for mental wellbeing, good physical development, more effective learning and reducing the risk of many health conditions. There’s loads of ideas to get the kids moving inside our out (and parents can join in too). After all, there’ll still be rainy days when this is over…

Active Leeds has developed two brilliant resources. For under-8s there’s Ready Set Rainbow; and for over 8’s there’s Get Active, Stay Active, both using everyday objects and kids’ imaginations for getting active at home. Yorkshire Sport Foundation offers lots of resources for school-age kids, including #ThisIsPE, which features PE lessons taught by local teachers. Change4Life’s Active Imaginations resource for under-fives contains fun ideas and videos featuring local families. Or why not try free dance classes with DAZL?


5/ Take action if home doesn’t feel safe

It’s difficult to even think about being happy, or healthy, if you don’t feel safe at home. Leeds Domestic Violence Service is open to all genders and offers a 24 hour helpline (0113 246 0401) or a webchat service which can be accessed through their website. For tips on managing everyday hazards like blind cords, nappy sacks and matches, see the Child Accident Prevention Trust or Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents websites.


6/ Be kind to yourself

Most of us have experienced moments of low mood, anxiety and stress during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s only natural to feel this way at times – a survey by the Office of National Statistics showed 4 in 5 of us are worried about the impact of coronavirus on our lives. Whenever possible we need to recharge batteries and look after our mental wellbeing. Mindwell is a user-friendly website that has resources, videos and the latest information to help people in Leeds take care of their mental health. Or Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters features relaxation audio guides, sleep tips and NHS-recommended helplines.


7/ Seek support when you need it

Sometimes things can feel very overwhelming and we just need some help. If you need support with food or medication, call the citywide helpline on 0113 378 1877, from 9am-5pm every day, or leave a voicemail any time. You’ll be matched with a local volunteer who can help.

If someone you care about is critically ill, or has died, from coronavirus, there’s a COVID-19 support line – try St Gemma’s on 0113 218 5544 or Wheatfields on 0113 203 3369. Specialist bereavement support for children is also available through Child Bereavement UK Leeds on 01133 503598, or email leedssupport@childbereavementuk.org.

MindMate is a trusted Leeds-based website for children, young people and their families. It can help you explore emotional wellbeing and mental health issues, and also to access support. Another option for young people is Kooth, offering free, safe and anonymous online support. People aged 17 and older can contact Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service for mental health support. If you’re feeling desperate, the Leeds crisis card can help you work out where to go for help.


8/ Don’t go hungry (but don’t attack the snacks…)

If you’re struggling to access food for yourself or family because of money worries or self-isolation, please don’t go hungry. You can request emergency food provision by emailing thriving@leeds.gov.uk or ringing 0113 376 0330. A really useful FAQ about food in Leeds is now available, with information about general nutrition (including advice on Vitamin D), nutritional advice for pregnant women and people who are self-isolating, a guide to accessing free vitamins and food through Healthy Start, and tips on cooking and shopping well. It’s really tempting to keep raiding the cupboard, but if you’re snacking your way through lockdown, why not try swapping fatty and sugary foods for something just as yummy and healthier too? There’s some great ideas on Change4Life.


9/ Keep up the good work

Being in lockdown can feel a little like Groundhog Day. But keeping to a routine can really support good health. Some parents say it’s hard to remember teeth-cleaning without the usual daily reminders of ‘we’ll be late for school!’ For top tips, check out the Leeds Smiles website. Keeping to regular bedtimes and sitting down to eat meals together also helps with family harmony. The HENRY website offers lots of ideas for families to develop healthy routines and positive ways of connecting with each other. One favourite is the collective reward system, where all the family can ‘reward’ each other.  Or how about starting a ‘memory jar’, and putting in your family memories of positive times in lockdown? It could be something to look back at together on days when you’re feeling low.


10/ New to family life? Here’s what you need to know

If all this is new to you, there’s a lot to take in! The Leeds Baby Buddy app is a great place to start – it’s designed to guide you through your pregnancy and the first six months of your baby’s life. Some pregnant women in Leeds are sharing their anxieties and the coping strategies they’ve found helpful at https://nestleeds.co.uk. Or connect with other mums in Leeds via Mummy Buddy. For midwife advice about coronavirus, information on service changes and general support during pregnancy there’s a NHS Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust helpline: 07464 907 978.

Breastfeeding support is still available too. Contact the infant feeding midwives on 0113 2065367 or for peer support you can text or call Cath on 0784 333 9574 or Suzanne on 0795 6077800.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, Mindwell has produced this useful guide on how to access support with your mental health when you’re pregnant.


You can also contact sally.hall2@leeds.gov.uk to request hard copies of the leaflet, which will be available in certain parts of the city.

Read our ultimate Guidance, activities and creative ideas for families during COVID-19 here >

Stay active at home with the family by taking part in some fun activities here >

Protect your child against influenza – it needs to be every year and does not give you influenza

Protect you and your baby by having your influenza vaccination. It’s the best way to help avoid influenza and the serious related complications it can cause to you and your baby.

It’s free because you need it, however many months pregnant you are and however fit and healthy you might feel.

 

What should I do?

Book an appointment with your GP today.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/flu-jab-vaccine-pregnant/

flu

What about your children?

The nasal spray flu vaccine is is available from your GP and it’s free for all healthy two- and three-year-olds.

Children attending primary school will be offered the nasal spray whilst they are in school and you will have been contacted.

Children from 6 months with a long term health condition, such as a respiratory or neurological condition or receiving treatment that weakens their immune system, such as chemotherapy are entitled for free vaccine. Contact your GP.

The flu vaccine is generally given as an injection to children aged six months to two years and as a nasal spray to children aged 2 to 17 years who have a long-term health condition.

The flu vaccine isn’t suitable for babies under the age of six months.

The vaccine will help protect your child against flu and serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Vaccinating your child will help protect more vulnerable family and friends

It’s better than having flu. The nasal spray helps protect against flu, has been given to millions of children worldwide and has an excellent safety record

flujab

What should I do?

Contact your GP if your child was aged two or three years old (on the 31 August of the current flu season) and you haven’t heard from their GP by early November. If your child is at primary school, the school will send you a consent form. Please sign and return it.

If your child has a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu, they can get the flu vaccine from their GP.

For more information on vaccinating you and your child, have a look at:

www.nhs.uk/child-flu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKu1WZR-db8 ?

https://www.facebook.com/leedsflu/?

https://www.hdft.nhs.uk/services/childrens-services/leeds-imms/?fbclid=IwAR2d3G5Z-SpeNwY0reZSXmBaYArdD4FxZmJfzl4nZR1PAIpv9POiSrOPnTY

Baby Week Leeds 2019 – Back 2 – 9 November with over 100 events!

Baby Week is back for its fourth time this November with the theme ‘Making connections: Bonding, healthy brains and wellbeing for all’ and we have a fantastic calendar of events ready for you! Baby Week is now a national charity and in Leeds it aims to bring sectors and services together to promote the Best Start in life.

White Rose Build-a-bear celebration

Baby Week Leeds 2019 will feature many events throughout the city all kicking off with their grand opening event at Crowne Plaza Hotel Leeds who have supported the initiative from the very start. The opening open to all will have many information and fun stalls, workshops including mindfulness and yoga and key speeches around speech and language development, best start initiative in Leeds, 50 things to do before you’re 5 app and the exciting launch of ‘Facemums’ in Leeds. Facemums brings together pregnant and newly delivered women via a secret Facebook site for support and information sharing during pregnancy and the early days of motherhood.

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Join Leeds Libraries across the city for some exciting child friendly sessions for Baby Week 2019. From Baby Week Storytime and Multi-Sensory Social to Creative Play with Duplo and much more. Find out more via: ticketsource.co.uk/leedslibraryevents. As it’s the ‘Year of Reading’ in Leeds, we will be giving free books to all babies and promoting the importance and benefits of reading to children. In the book posted a fantastic article on the importance of reading to children, and shared the info graphic describing the benefits which can be found here.

There will also be workshops on benefits of reading and music on mental health, post-natal depression, best start, fertility and nutrition, infant mental health, perinatal mental health, neonatal unit, best beginnings and the baby buddy app, fathers and postnatal depression, midwives and much more. Leeds Children’s Centre have over 50 events on during the week so go and enjoy messy and sensory play, singing and story time sessions, benefits of baby massage and bonding with your little one and many more fun activities throughout the week – all available on the website.

Opera North Family singing

There will also be opportunities to enhance services and have your say by meeting professionals and experts at Leeds Kirkgate Market on Friday 8th November with many fun events including pamper station by Lush giving free hand and arm massages!

Throughout the city we have so many partners involved from Leeds Dad’s breakfast club, Rainbow Factory hosting a bonfire night special messy play, Mumbler’s meet up with The Little Gym hosting an exciting free taster session, arts and crafts with Leeds City Musuem and The Tetley, introduction to swimming for babies, coffee mornings at John Lewis, fun meet-up’s with Mummy Buddy, Baby Rave’s and child friendly sessions with BoomChikkaBoom and much more! It’s great to see so many partners involved this year so please visit the website to see the full schedule of events and to book your place at the free opening event, conference or city-wide events:

https://www.babyweek.co.uk/babyweek2019

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Baby Week Leeds launched in September 2016, is an early year’s initiative helping to bring and celebrate services from across the sector together and is an adaptation of Semana do Bebe (UNICEF 2010). It’s aim is raising awareness of the baby’s important growth and development mentally and physically in order to give the best start. Since May 2018, Baby Week Leeds is a registered charity, which is made up of different representatives from professions across the city including academic, midwifery, public health, children’s centres and local government. Find out more about our aims here.

Biggest children’s festival in Yorkshire – Join us at Child Friendly Leeds Live 2019

Join us for the biggest children’s festival in Yorkshire featuring Popular children’s TV presenters and performers on National Play Day 7th August.

Tickets are now on sale for Child Friendly Leeds Live 2019, which will be headlined by CBeebies’ Mr. Bloom and His Band and former presenter Alex Winters returning as host.

What’s happening?

Performances at Millennium Square from Mr Bloom and His Band, a Greatest Showman circus feature, Family Rave Mayhem with Boomchikkaboom, plus fun, games and audience participation throughout from compere Alex Winters and Heart FM.

On the day, children and families can enjoy what’s on the square including face painting, Oxygen Freejumping, product making with LUSH, arts and crafts, slime making, sport, t-shirt designing, toasting marshmallows, sensory play and much more! There will many other activities taking place in Leeds on Wednesday 7 August including the Jurassic Trail so book your tickets now on: https://www.millsqleeds.com/whats-on/all-shows/child-friendly-leeds-live-with-mr-bloom-and-his-band/5507

Former CBeebies presenter and host of CFL Live, Alex Winters said: “I am really excited to be returning to CFL Live for its second year. I can’t wait to sing, dance, play games and introduce the audience to the amazing Mr. Bloom & His Band – we are going to have a fantastic time. Get ready Leeds, we’re bringing the fun.”

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When is it and who’s it for?

CFL Live is made up of two events on Wednesday August 7 and is for children aged 12 and under. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

The first session will run from 10am to 12.30pm, and the second will run from 2pm until 4.30pm.

What did people say last year?

“It was fantastic. All 3 generations enjoyed it. We came this am and the talent for breeze got talent was truly amazing – you can’t help cancellations, I think it still went well & especially for the 1st time you’ve ever done it. Again we had 3 generations and I think my mum & myself enjoyed it as much as my daughter”.
“I just wanted to say a massive Thankyou S again, for taking the time out for us. My daughter has grown up watching Andy, and has a very keen interest in Dinosaurs and fossils etc, so this meet with Andy has just fuelled her interest even more But that aside, it was a fab event and we enjoyed making the bath bombs with Lush. We didn’t do the balloons/face painting because we were by the stage for the most part! You could tell a lot of hard work had gone into the day. You should definitely feel proud. I will be glued to your FB page/website for all future events”.
“Fantastic afternoon! Well done everyone involved. We will be back next year!”

How much?

Tickets cost £5 per person per session, and can be purchased online at http://www.millsqleeds.com or from the City Centre Box Office based at Leeds Town Hall (0113 376 0318).

Babies aged 12 months and under go free

Join in the Facebook conversation and find out news and updates via:  https://www.facebook.com/events/353699675344655/

 

 

Celebrate Fostering Fortnight with Foster 4 Leeds

Foster 4 Leeds Facebook header4

Following on from our previous blog, here’s 4 more wonderful stories from the 8 exceptional foster families, who have fostered children with disabilities for over 25 years for Leeds City Council. Find out more about the service and how you can get involved via Foster 4 Leeds.

1.Christine and Jeff Steeden

Christine and Jeff Steeden started fostering children with disabilities in 1992, when their own children were school aged.

They initially provided short breaks for children who had more challenging needs, and developed a special interest for with working with children on the autistic spectrum.

Christine and Jeff have helped look after lots of children from a child who liked to be superman to the boy with autism who was interested in everything and master of melt-downs.

Initially the boy was in shared care between Christine and Jeff and his birth Mum until he needed full time care the couple were happy to welcome the now 26 year old as part of the family.

2. Marion Harris

Marion Harris is a warm nurturing person with a big heart and was approved to be a disability foster carer in 1993.

Marion offered short breaks and emergency placements to children with disabilities always being there when a child needed a home. She initially cared for a little boy who was medically fragile giving him all the love and care he needed until he died when primary school age due to his disability.

In 2006 a 2 year old with muscular dystrophy was placed with Marion and her house was adapted to meet the child’s physical needs.  She continues to thrive with Marion and is part of Marion’s extended family.  Marion has cared for more than 20 children in her career.

3. Joyce and Andrew Lacovou

Joyce and Andrew Lacovou were approved in 1994. Andrew is a Greek Cypriot and Joyce came from a large family and had herself experienced living in care and looking after her siblings. They have a big family with four daughters and even bigger hearts.

They cared for an 8 year old who had autism short term whilst his future plans were decided and enjoyed this experience and were sad when it was time for him to leave.

Throughout the years they have supported many children with autism and when a teenager needed an emergency placement the family decided that they wanted him to stay.  They understand the support he needs with managing his autism and help him to develop his independence skills and negotiate his way through college to adulthood.

4. Patsy Fraser

Patsy Fraser started her fostering journey in 1994. Her journey started as a teenager in a fostering household as her mother was one of the first foster carers to look after disabled children in her own home.

When she had her own children she wanted to foster too as she felt that she had benefited from being brought up in an inclusive open family and that this had been a very positive experience.


You could make a huge difference to a young person’s life.

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#Foster4Leeds run information events at coffee shops and community hubs around the city. Visit www.foster4leeds.co.uk for more information or follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @LdsFosteringAdv.

National Fostering Week – Celebrating Exceptional Foster Families in Leeds

In the wake of National fostering week, we’d like to celebrate 8 exceptional foster families, who have fostered children with disabilities for over 25 years for Leeds City Council and share their remarkable stories with you. This blog tells the stories of the first 4 of these fostering families.

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1. Mary and Martin Birkinshaw were first approved as foster carers in 1981 when they had a young family. Their first foster child was Donna, severely disabled with cerebral palsy, she had little independent movement. Donna grew up in the heart of their family and is now married and lives close by with her partner and Mary and Martin continue to support her independence.

In 2010 Kirah and her little brother were placed with Mary and Mark as emergency care rather than long term because a younger family were to be found to care for the youngsters. Kirah didn’t want to move to another placement with younger carers because she recognised that this was the family she wanted to stay with.

The children are thriving and Mary says that they keep her young and on her toes.  Kirah is becoming a confident young woman who is part of the’ Leeds Have a Voice’ council for looked after children. Kirah is working towards becoming a social worker in the future.

2. Danyela Wilson has been fostering for 38 years.  She was one of 6 foster carers who were in a pilot project between MENCAP and Leeds City Council to provide fostering services for children with disabilities.

In the early 1980’s it was believed that disabled children who could not live with their birth parents should be looked after in hospital and Danyela worked at Meanwood Park Hospital in Leeds looking after disabled children.

Aged 25, Danyela jumped at the chance to foster a child in her own home and agreed to foster her first child, Clare, who later died due to her life shortening illness.

In 2002 Danyela decided to concentrate on supporting families in the community and other foster families for children with disabilities and has been providing short breaks to children with a wide range of additional needs including children who need ground-floor accommodation. Her contribution has helped to keep children with disabilities with their birth families.

Woman and 2 children

3. Jan Pulham was approved as a foster carer in 1983.  Jan was a special needs teacher and met Danyela Wilson when Danyela’s daughter Clare joined her class.  Jan offered to provide short breaks for Clare and she and Danyela became life-long friends.

Jan quickly realised that caring for children with disabilities was her life time vocation.  Jan fostered Vanda a chatty youngster with learning disabilities for short breaks and this developed into long term fostering when her family could no longer care for her.  Vanda is now 46 and continues to live with Jan and her other foster to adopt children.

Jan has continued to offer regular short breaks to 20 plus children with disabilities (often supporting the same families for many years) alongside her adopted and fostered family over the last 30 years.  Jan’s household is always busy and full of laughter.

Jan is now 66 and has recently told me that she sees herself continuing her family lifestyle for another 20 years.

4. Celina Archibald was approved as a foster carer for children with disabilities in 1990. Since this time she has successfully provided short term placements for children waiting a permanent family and short breaks to support other foster carers and families within the community.

She has been a consistent special person in the lives of many vulnerable children.  Lots of children who stay talk about her great Caribbean cooking and look forward to being at her table.

During her 28 years of fostering she has cared for over 20 children and many of the children matched with her have continued to have regular short breaks over many years.  Her contribution has supported placement stability for children in fostering and kept vulnerable children out of care.


 

In Leeds, we have some amazing stories to tell and as part of #NationalFosteringWeek we decided to feature these exceptional carers – but there are many many more. Thank you for making Leeds a child friendly city.

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