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My Bag - Helping Foster Kids Into Loving Books

MyBag
Fri 25 May, 2018

When children enter the care system, it's often with very few possessions. A pioneering local charity is working to ensure that they get the best start with a bag and books.

Stuart & Karen have been Nottingham City Council Approved Foster Carers since 2010 predominately looking after children on an emergency or respite basis. Their daughter Nicola and her husband Shane followed in their footsteps a few years later.

Due to their busy workloads as teachers and the arrival of their recently adopted child, Nicola decided that she wanted to help the most vulnerable in our society in another way.

Inspired by the US organisation Together We Rise she wanted to help those children who were entering into the care system for the first time and so MyBagCharity was conceived.

The official figures do not make pleasant reading

  • In England, 31,000 children enter the foster care system every year.
  • That’s a staggering 85 children everyday
  • Off this number nearly 300 live in Nottingham
  • This is a shocking 1 child every 32 hours in Nottingham alone.

When foster children come in to care for the first time they often have few or no personal belongings that they can call their own. At My Bag we know these children deserve better than that & we want to eradicate this situation starting in our home city of Nottingham. To help foster kids have more positive experience, they plan to provide a holdall with a variety of items inside it that these kids can call their own for as long as they wish to, and to take it with them should they move.

My Bag is a large, gender neutral in colour, holdall stuffed with a teddy bear, a blanket, a colouring or note book, crayons, picture frame and also another large collapsible holdall for any personal possessions they may have. My Bag wants children in foster care to feel like kids, and we believe this is an important first step in doing this & instil some self esteem at a very difficult time in their lives. The foster system faces many challenges so by working with My Bag we can help eradicate one of them. My Bag hopefully goes someway to help children feel like they belong.

Five Leaves bookshop also stepped up when they heard about the project, donating over 200 books for the bags, and pledging to donate more over time.

There is also an additional, but crucial, benefit for the social worker who is tasked with collecting the child & taking them to their foster carer for the first time. Rather than going to see the child empty handed the bag can provide a focal point should there be any waiting time once the child has been collected.

We need to supply approx 300 of these bags every year. Whether you are an individual or a local company & would like to support MyBagCharity helping Foster Children in Nottingham you can donate or raise money by visiting www.mybagcharity.co.uk or send us an email with any ideas or suggestions to hello@mybagcharity.co.uk

Nicola and Stuart are joined by trusted friends Steph Mallory & Oliver Rolling who are also born & bred in Nottingham. Steph is a solicitor trained at Clifford Chance before moving back to her home town and is now employed at Experian. Steph is also a governor at Djanogly City Academy. Oliver spent four years at PricewaterhouseCooper before setting up his own Nottingham based business and also raises lots of money for charity as a member of a local Round Table.

We have the full support and obviously have a very close working relationship with Nottingham City Council and we are grateful for their support.

We have numerous activities planned to raise funds including Raffles, Auctions, Fundraising events, Sponsored runs etc…but like most registered charities always need more. Get in touch if you can help, and make a real difference.


This post is tagged in

charity literacy fostering books

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