Fostering Social Worker Colette reflects on the past 3 years…
It almost marks 3 years since our lives as we knew came to a standstill, along with the rest of the world. For the past few weeks, I have been thinking about what our life was like during the height of Covid and what life is like now. I feel as though I am not the only person who has been doing some form of reflection recently, as I have been having these conversations with the families that I support.
Whilst we all acknowledge that, Covid was, at times terrifying due to the unknown that was potentially to come, and the uttermost sadness for those lives lost. We also felt that life at the time was a little bit simpler (not for everyone but the vast amount of people I have spoken to).
Appreciating the small things
I know that during this time, I really appreciated the small everyday things that I would ordinarily take for granted, a walk in the sunshine with my dog, trying my utmost best (and failing) in becoming more green thumbed and growing my own vegetables (sadly this hasn’t continued). Connecting with my friends and family albeit it virtually, in a way that I had never done before… how may Friday night quizzes did you take part in?!
There was this great sense of community, the message that ‘were all in it together’. This was seen on such a national scale from an unprecedented demand in people wanting to help within their local community, whether that was doing a weekly food shop for someone shielding to volunteers colleting medication.
For us within the fostering service we saw a huge increase in the number of enquiries and applications to become foster carers. I feel that people took stock of their lives and genuinely wanted to help others, and for us, that was providing a loving and safe home for those who are unable to do so within their own families.
However over recent months, I have noticed a real shift change, there is no denying that life feels tough now. The general cost of living is increasing, to heights that have never been seen before, such as gas and electric, also the fear of a pending recession. I believe this has led many people to retreat, to feel as though they need to look after their own, to get their heads down and to try to survive this challenging time. I feel as though this great sense of community and the ethos to help others has well and truly been lost, we can see this with the reduction of enquiries recently.
The here and now…
This has me wondering, how we can reignite people’s sense of wanting to help others. Don’t get me wrong, I know life is hard at the moment, we all feel it, and the thought of having another child in the home, may just be that bit too much. Yet we are seeing astronomical numbers of children entering the care system, and with a lack of foster carers there are nowhere for these children to live, to feel safe and to just be children. I do not have the answers; I wish I did.