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Helping to give foster children family roots

Posted onPosted on 1st Feb

A striking art installation has gone on display in Mansfield Library as part of an ongoing drive to encourage more people to consider becoming foster carers.

The vinyl image of a family tree was unveiled at a special event called Foster for Nottinghamshire — Giving local children roots.
Nottinghamshire County Council hopes the eye-catching artwork will help to shine a light on the vital work foster carers carry out and boost its fostering recruitment campaign.

The family tree was unveiled by cabinet member for Children and Families, Coun Tracey Taylor, and Ian Bond, director of Learning at Inspire, which delivers the council’s cultural services.

They were joined by several foster carers and pupils from Sutton Road Primary and Nursery School, Mansfield, who took part in an activity to draw or write what family means to them on paper leaves, which were then added to the artwork on the wall.

Coun Taylor said: “Fostering recruitment is an all-year round campaign, but fantastic events like this, where we had engagement from schools, foster carers, and support workers, bring renewed focus on our work to recruit foster carers and let people know how important it is that we have them helping us.

“Having the mural in the Children’s Corner in Mansfield Library as a focus will ensure that our fostering service and what it has to offer remains in the public eye in a prime location.

“I thank staff and pupils at Sutton Road Primary and Nursery School for their engagement. It was fantastic to see how the children approached the event.

“It was also nice to involve our foster carers because we don’t get chance to say thank you often enough for the incredible job they do.”

The artwork will serve as an ongoing prompt for people to think about fostering for the county council, while library visitors are encouraged to add more paper leaves to the family tree.

Ian added: “It was wonderful to see local schoolchildren and foster carers coming together. Libraries are a great place to learn about fostering as well as being a great place for foster carers and families to visit.”

Foster carer Zoe and her family have cared for mainly older children for eight years, and she said one of the rewards of fostering is to help a young person grow in confidence and do amazing things for themselves.

She added: “We had a young person who, when she came to us, had never been in a library before. We took her to the library at the start of one summer to do a reading challenge.

“She didn’t let go of my arm and reluctantly chose books that she pretended to read over the summer. However, a few years later, through school, she was offered an opportunity to volunteer at a library and, off her own back really, she phoned the library, applied, did an induction, and then volunteered in the library for two whole summers helping other children.”