Local organisations Stoke City FC and bet65 have joined Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Fostering Friendly ethos by becoming Fostering Friendly.
The two organisations, which combined employ over 4000 staff, have implemented a fostering friendly HR policy and have been awarded the status by the Fostering Network. The Potters are the first professional football club in England that the Fostering Network has recognised as foster friendly.
A fostering friendly employer is an organisation or business that helps employees who are foster carers or who want to become foster carers. Members of the scheme agree to put in place a fostering friendly HR policy for all foster carers in their employment. Help could include having policies that offer foster carers flexible working or paid time off for child care training, fostering-related meetings, or settling a new child into their home.
Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: “We understand the vital role that foster carers play in the lives of children and young people, many of whom will be some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
“We are delighted to have joined the Foster Friendly initiative with bet365 and look forward to helping foster carers, as well as potential foster carers, among our staff to fulfil such a rewarding and important role in society.”
Bob Munro, Group Chief Human Resources Officer for bet365, commented: “We are delighted as a Group to be supporting this vitally important initiative, which further cements our commitment to the community within which we operate”.
Alongside this Stoke City FC have pledged to support the fostering service in the city by offering traineeships and job opportunities to both looked after children and foster carers birth children in the city.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “We’re proud to be a Fostering Friendly council and are thrilled that Stoke City FC and bet365 have now joined the initiative. Last year Unitas joined the scheme, so it is great another two organisations based in the city have come on-board. We hope that this will motivate other local organisations to join our Fostering Friendly ethos.”
Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people said: “Fostering requires a high level of commitment; therefore employers offering the carers among its staff greater flexibility and time off to support them on their foster carer journey for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is fantastic. Foster carers play a vital role and it's important that employers give them the assistance they need.”
Adam Walker, a foster carer for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and a lifelong Stoke City FC supporter said: “I have been a supporter of Stoke City FC since I was a young lad so it’s great to see them working in partnership with the city council on fostering.
“We became foster carers in February this year and haven’t looked back since! Our children are now grown-up so we decided it was the right time in our lives to take on this new journey and make a positive impact. I resigned from my fulltime role working for the NHS to commit completely and so far fostering has been nothing but rewarding. The fostering team have been great and supportive.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council currently has over 1000 children in care. If you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer in Stoke-on-Trent then why not start your fostering journey by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/fostering or calling 01782 234555.
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