Hi, my name is Gemma and I am the Placement’s manager for Calon Cymru Fostering, a position I find both rewarding and challenging.
Reading about children and helping to match them with the ideal family can be heart-breaking at times and one of the biggest things I have had to learn in this role is resilience. To celebrate and be proud of all the wonderful children we can help, instead of being daunted by those we cannot for whatever reason. There will never be enough Foster Carers and there are so many children that need help and support and most importantly – Love. It is an honor to work with such an amazing team and to hear about each success for our children and carers. It means so much to see the amount of work people put in to accommodate a child into their lives. Like Sam, we are both office workers and unlike admin, we get to be in amongst the operations teams, recruitment, and all of the Cardiff Social Workers. We also visit the Carmarthen team and interact with them daily. It means that I get an insight into pretty much every aspect of the Agency. Barrie, Ayesha, and I look at where there is the most need for carers and how we can support the Local Authorities. Joe and Sharon are regularly interrupted by me popping my head into their offices for one reason or another. I am almost constantly on the phone to various people.
I think for me, that has been the hardest part of Lockdown. The isolation. Whilst we all still communicate regularly and everyone has miraculously found ways to continue their role online, I miss the office. I miss people and hearing about how a family are settling in, the support of everyone and providing the team with snacks and Jelly Babies (I have a very important drawer of treats for the team). Most of all, I miss the Camaraderie.
Like others in the team, I have a Son, he is 6 and has struggled with the lockdown and the change to routine. Days have become a variety of attempts at home school (with not much success), work, and just trying to get through each day. Reading is important to me and I have managed 16 books since the lockdown (don’t ask how I’m not sure). I did purchase a gorilla gym for my kiddo and that has proven to be amazing! He spends quite a lot of time swinging from my doorway!
The fact that we are still helping children, still accommodating families, still working with contact plans and focussing on what the children need at this time is inspiring. Despite Sam and I being a small team we would not be able to do half of it without the support and input of our wonderful colleagues, and for that I will be forever grateful.