News from South West England

Find out how we are finding homes for children in South West England

Our team in the South West have been busy (as usual!) since our last update! With two Local Coordinators in the South West and a Local Movement lead working alongside our wonderful Regional Lead Clare Walker, we’re excited to share with you some of the things we’re celebrating in Bath, Bristol and Torbay, as well as our recent activity in the region more broadly – and we have a few exciting opportunities coming up too!

Yeovil Support Group launched in January. Clare loved visiting them at the beginning of March!

Clare recently spoke at St Thomas’s Trowbridge alongside Safe Families, exploring the unique role the Church has to play in caring for children and families, as highlighted in the report we recently wrote together, More Than Sundays.

It was wonderful to meet with around 30 Home for Good supporters in Bournemouth to consider how we can support fostering and adoptive families, resource churches and inspire people to explore fostering and adoption. Clare has also been engaging with churches across Calne as part of the Calne Fostering Focus month in Wiltshire

Bath area
It was a delight to host our celebration event in Bath Abbey. We wanted to encourage and thank all those who commit their lives to caring for vulnerable children, and to inspire the local Church to see that everyone has a role to play to enable all children and young people to be welcomed into loving homes. Tania Bright, Home for Good CEO, spoke movingly about the need for more safe and supportive homes for teenagers. We are so grateful for the leadership of Peter Heywood at the Genesis Trust, who fund our Bath Area Local Movement, and we look forward to continuing our work to find a home for every child who needs one in the South West.

Bristol
We launched a Bristol Foundations Course in January, which came to an end a few weeks ago. It was a joy to journey with 12 households from in and around Bristol.

The Foundations course was great. It was so well led and facilitated by Stu and Charlotte and so good to have the Champions there too. The vast wealth of knowledge they all brought was amazing. It was a real challenge at points to hear some of the issues vulnerable children face, but also a real joy, with such hope! Foundations attendee

Local Coordinator Stu recently visited Horfield Methodist Church, using Home for Good resources to celebrate and reflect on Mothering Sunday. We would love to visit your church, or to share our resources with you to help you navigate days such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Get in touch with us!

Stu is getting to know Bristol City Council fostering team and is honoured to be part of the advisory group for the relaunch of the digital communications elements of their work. We're working with Bristol City Council to help find foster carers for children in the city – to find out more about our work in Bristol, click here.

Torbay
Upton Vale Baptist Church in Torquay dedicated a whole month to highlight and pray for the work of Home for Good. Local Champions have been instrumental in helping us engage with church communities in Torquay, and we are so encouraged to see the local church responding to the needs of children and young people – thank you, Upton Vale Baptist Church!

Local Coordinator Maren met with a group of South West Youth Ministries (SWYM) West student youth leaders to help them grow in their understanding of trauma and the experiences of care-experienced children, and to explore together how we can create spaces of welcome and belonging.

The average number of children in care is much higher in Torbay than most other areas in England. In April 2021, Home for Good began working with Torbay Council to help find families who will welcome children through fostering. Find out more here.

Coming up
We’re looking forward to visiting a number of local churches in the coming weeks, including Fishponds Baptist Church in April and Riviera Life Church in Torquay in May. We’re excited to be attending Spring Harvest this year, too! Come and chat to us at Minehead in the exhibition area.

Gillingham peer support group launches in Dorset soon; if you’re in the area and would like to know more, connect with us.

We’d love to invite you to join us for our upcoming webinar, Creating Communities of Welcome – a 90-minute webinar designed to help your church community better understand the experiences and needs of care-experienced children and their families, so that your church family can become an increasingly supportive and welcoming space. You can join us on either Monday 25 April or Thursday 9 June at 7.30pm.

It will be fantastic to see lots of you in person at our Summit in May! After such a long time of distance and separation, Summit 2022 will be a time to come Together. Drawing inspiration from 1 Corinthians 12, we will stand together as one body with many parts, taking the time to honour and uphold those who can sometimes be overlooked. This is a great opportunity to connect with others involved in fostering and adoption, and it is a chance to bring along friends, family and leaders within the Church and community who want to learn how to better support those welcoming vulnerable children into their homes. It’s not too late to sign up – find out more and register to join us, in person or online, here.

Home for Good is taking part in the Great Bristol Run on 25 September – Our very own Stu Dendy will be running! There are still half marathon and 10k spaces available, so get your trainers on and join us as we raise money to find a home for every child who needs one.

Finally, we are thrilled to share that this summer, Home for Good is embarking on a UK-wide tour with Riding lights Theatre Company. Entertaining and thought-provoking, the play My Place follows the stories of four children in care – an individual child, a pair of siblings and an unaccompanied refugee. They have different backgrounds and journeys, brought to life through a range of colourful story-telling techniques, including song and spoken word. Each story highlights the need for all vulnerable children to have a safe, stable and loving home where they can thrive.

On it’s South West leg of the tour, My Place will be performed at:

- St Paul’s, Weston-super-Mare – 25 June

- Yeovil Community Church – 28 June

- St Matt’s, Exeter – 29 June

- Upton Vale, Torbay – 1 July

Watch this space, as we are still finalising more dates! Tickets are £10 each (£8 for concessions) and are available at: ticketsource.co.uk/ridinglights

What can I be praying for?

We would love you to stand with us in prayer as we continue to work to find a home for every child who needs one in the South West.

  • Pray that our Bible study resource, Make Room, will be a blessing to the church communities in the South West who have signed up to use it.
  • Give thanks to God for the amazing churches hosting Riding Lights for the tour or My Place. Let’s pray that lots of people will be inspired upon seeing the play.
  • Pray that many conversations and new church contacts will be made at Spring Harvest Minehead, 11 – 15 April.
    Are there any events happening soon that I can attend?

    Head over to our South West England page to find out what is happening in the area and find all the local support groups.

    Take me there

    How do I get in touch with a member of the Home for Good team in South West England?

    Clare Walker heads up Home for Good's work in South West England and she would love to hear from you! You can contact her through the link below.

    Email Clare

    Our local co-ordinators operate in Bristol (Stu) and Torbay (Maren). Send them an email though the links below.

    Email Stu

    Email Maren

    Our Local Movement Lead in Bath and North East Somerset is Dave Kingswood.


    Email Dave

    Date published:
    April 2022


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