Verve Community; the change-makers in foster care recruitment.

Verve community are change-makers in foster care recruitment, changing how we recruit foster homes for vulnerable children in care.

Verve Community recruits foster carers for the Not-for-Profit sector. We are change-makers in foster care recruitment because we want to increase the number of foster carers with Not-for-Profit Charities and Local Authorities. The ultimate purpose is to reduce the number of children with expensive Independent Fostering Agencies and, more importantly, to keep children; especially siblings and older children, local to the communities to which they belong.

I set up Verve 4 years ago after walking away from my job in recruitment for an IFA. Also, I didn’t like seeing the vast greed and profits and bonuses around me. Nor did I like the assumption that I wouldn’t understand fostering because I wasn’t a social worker. However, the worst was when my line manager asked me, ‘Val, why are you not a social worker?’

The problem was I understood Corporate.

This, to a degree, was true; I didn’t understand the difference between fostering. I was clueless. I didn’t know the difference between an IFA, a Charity, or the role of the Local Authorities. However, I quickly understood the labels attached to fostering. Furthermore, I soon saw through the veneer of corporate jargon. I’ve worked for many corporate organisations over the years, I know the jargon, and it’s all about bums in beds. Regardless of the industry, keeping shareholders, directors, and greedy staff sweet was what it was about.

The motivation that drives me is unique. For me, the motivation to set up Verve CIC 4 years ago was frustration. I was frustrated; I knew there was another way to recruit foster carers. I didn’t have to be a social worker to understand; I’d worked professionally with children and young people all my life. More importantly, I refused to be labelled. So, I put my money where my mouth was, cashed in my pension and took a leap of faith into the unknown!

Image of a child looking through a window. The text reads, Verve, every child matters...

Verve CIC – Every child matters…

Having worked within the Independent Foster Care sector in recruitment, I know the bonuses and profits made by businesses from children in care. I also know that companies set out to make profits; nothing is wrong with that. However, making millions in profit from vulnerable children and young people by charging exorbitant fees to Local Authorities is crass.

Because of this, vital support services are now closed, and we created a vicious circle. This circle is where vulnerable children and their families are now the victims. Sadly, lifelines like Sure Start Centres and support networks for families and children closed. Even worse, COVID-19 came to stay.

It was because of COVID-19 that the campaigns began. I networked with other Not for Profit organisations; our common aim is that if families had better support, fewer children would be in care. Also, if families in need had access to food parcels, knitted baby clothes, and blankets, they would have money left at the end of the week.

Sadly, extra money means you can pay for the essentials, paying the mortgage and rent or putting the heating on. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is. We work together to stop families from becoming vulnerable. But it’s a double-edged sword.

If our Local Authorities didn’t rely on corporate businesses, they would have money for support networks. As a result, families won’t be vulnerable. More importantly, children are less at risk of going into care and being moved away from the communities they belong.

So far, Verve CIC campaigns have achieved…

330 + Foster Care/ Supported Lodgings enquiries

95+ Amazing Ladies who kindly donate time and support for our Knitting Appeals.

100+ Not for Profit Charities and Community groups we support in our communities.

800+ Knitted Toys we donate to foster children that are included in the welcome packs they have with their Charities.

2500+ Bereavement Blankets, Knitted Hearts, and Teddies to support families and people affected by Covid 19

3500+ Knitted Baby Clothes, Blankets and toys donated to local Sure Start and Community Centres and Mother and Baby units.

Verve Ambassador Maxine Casey delivering knitted baby blankets
Verve Ambassador Maxine Casey delivering Baby Blankets and clothes

Verve CIC – Creating campaigns that engage…

When I set up Verve Recruitment Ltd 3 years ago, I did what most people do; I trusted someone to understand what I wanted and help me achieve my aims. The agency I chose didn’t understand my needs or my motivation, and thus, they delivered a glossy website that didn’t reflect me; they hadn’t listened to what I wanted and showed what they felt I needed.

I was gutted and angry. But my motivation was stronger than my pride, so I calmly created my website. I began writing blogs about what people wanted to hear and know about and designed Social Media ads; the aim was to connect with the right people. , I had a message I wanted to get out there. Also, it wasn’t all about foster care recruitment…

Verve CIC Ambassadors – Ladies with a heart and a conscience.

Verve CIC Ambassadors are ladies who came together, through different charities, with one common aim. They understand what needs to be done for the vulnerable in their community, and they do it. Our ambassadors work within the Armed Forces, NHS, and Food Poverty sectors, supporting community groups and many Not for Profits. We know the pandemic has caused severe hardship to many. However, it brought charities and community groups together, and we are networking like never before because our consciences tell us to.

Before the pandemic, many charities would network and then take the glory for the work of others. This created mistrust and many charities were limited in their help. To provide a full solution, they needed to work alongside other networks. Furthermore, COVID-19 put us in lockdown. The shops were shut, and support networks were closed; we had to respond collectively and share skills and resources because sectors of our society were at risk.

lady in a purple top knitting
Knitting gave many women in lockdown a purpose; they are wonderful.

Verve CIC and our Armed Forces collaborate.

Verve Ambassador Claire Marie Street is a Director of the Troops Naafi and the Salford Veterans Community Centre in Eccles, Manchester. Before this, Claire and her dedicated volunteers ran the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club at Pendleton Church, Salford. They were consistently smiling faces delivering hot meals, with cheery banter to Armed Forces Veterans during the pandemic. Claire and I have fundraiser together for many years for many Armed Forces organisations like Broughton House; Claire loves her veterans, and they love her back.

Claire brings a smile every Saturday at the Troops Naafi in Salford.

It’s not hard to see why the Breakfast Club is successful, and people go there week after week. Strong friendships form, young people gain their Duke of Edinburgh awards, with Claire and the Armed Forces Veterans mentoring them. Most importantly, these young people get history lessons with a brew. And as for the Veterans? Many veterans are elderly; they live alone and don’t speak to someone from one day to the next. Saturday is the day they look forward to, and they love coming to have a cooked breakfast and a chat. It makes them feel alive, especially with the youngsters who sit with a listening ear because they feel alive, loved, and respected.

Salford Food Parcels give emergency food to those in need.

Yvonne Simms runs the Salford Food Parcel project and the Holiday Hunger project in Salford. When Yvonne needs Xmas presents for struggling families in Salford, Claire and her veterans rise to the challenge. They do this because they are local people who help each other. It’s not because we are charities or community groups, we see something that needs doing, and we do it. Furthermore, when Armed Forces Veterans or families in Salford need emergency food parcels, Yvonne and her young volunteers deliver every time.

Yvonne produced the Knitted Baby Clothes appeal idea, which created a huge response from the blog. Moreover, many of the ladies who responded to this appeal admitted that the pandemic had made them feel useless. They wanted to help, and knitting for others, especially Mums and their babies, made them think they, too, had value. Furthermore, many of these women had faced hardship in their lives; the pandemic brought out a need to do something because they wanted to protect their children from being vulnerable. And if a knitted coat, hat, or blanket helped to achieve this, then that is what they would do.

the Beauthiful knitted poppies dress on display at St Thomas Church, Salford.
The knitted poppies dress on display at Pendleton church was created by donations of poppies from local ladies.

Verve CIC Knitting Appeals helped women gain a purpose…

My Mum was one of these ladies. Mum was recovering from a stroke, and I asked her to pick up her knitting again to take her mind off things. She did, and her tiny blue cardigan for Jeremiah was the first of thousands we donated to local Sure Start centres, community centres and Mother and Baby units who give them directly to Mums at no cost!

As time passed, we created campaigns for Bereavement Blankets, knitted hearts and teddies for Salford Royal Hospital, and premature baby clothes for the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Like many women today, Mum knew there was a better way. She had lived through many changes in her life: however, the future scared her. Knitting baby clothes helped her to alleviate her fears. For others, helping by delivering a home-cooked meal with a smile and a bit of a chat was another way. Another way was to inspire others to do something that made a difference and made them feel good; Mum did that but never realised it.

I delivered Bereavement blankets, hearts & teddies to the Swan Team at Salford Royal Hospital.

Thank you to the Ladies who walked before us…

Thank you to the ladies who had walked before us and shared their skills. The ladies who walk with us now and the generations of young ladies with clenched fists will walk with us, and when we leave, they will carry on the walk and share these skills with their children. ‘

My mum knew that to stay sane during the pandemic; she had to have a purpose. She was like most women. She had lost her purpose and started to feel low. She had also suffered a stroke and finding ways to occupy your time and remain focused is hard. However, when I told her about Jeremiah, she took up the challenge to knit.

Hilda Mary Croston, my Mum.

Mum had empathy with Mums today.

Mum was taken from us last year, but she was ready. She had Covid, but she had seen the world for what it was. Also, Mum had huge empathy for Mum’s of today as the myths from the TV began to translate to real-life struggles; she got it. Her life had been hard; my dad passed away at an early age, and she raised five children. But she had family around her, she had friends, and they were all in the same boat.

They lived on a council estate in Swinton, and everyone had the same amount of nothing. But they had each other, and so did we, her children. We had an abundance of very strong women who would add another plate to the table, tell you to wash your hands, feed you and send you on your way. We were blessed, and we knew it.

Mum knew that for children to flourish, they needed safe and loving family homes in a community in which they belonged.

Verve CIC helps you to understand the fostering criteria…

To make a difference in children’s lives, we need to know the criteria for becoming a foster carer. However, there are many types of foster care, including short-term, long-term, emergency care, respite care, Parent & Child, and sibling foster care; there are so many decisions to make. Therefore, we need to recruit and think differently and keep recruiting foster carers who instinctively know …

Verve CIC offers impartial advice on the fostering role, the process of becoming a foster carer and the criteria for foster carers that Not-for-Profit charities need.

We have extensive experience in the Foster Care Recruitment industry, from working within an Independent Fostering Agency, being in the care system ourselves and working with children and young people; our unique blend of skills, when joined together, makes us stronger.

Children don’t need a bed; they need love and stability.

And for children this strength is a powerful ally for children because we are not afraid to stand up for them, advocate, and be their voice when they need us. Consequently, when Verve CIC speak with potential foster carers, we know what we are looking for. We know those vulnerable children don’t need a bed in a home where they don’t feel they belong. They need stability, consistent love, boundaries, and a safe feeling.

Verve CIC- the change-makers in foster care recruitment

Verve CIC is the change-makers of foster care recruitment; we listen to and understand the foster care recruitment challenges; subsequently, we adapted and grew to meet those challenges.

As many of us know, we have no idea what the future holds, pandemic or no pandemic; however, children in care need foster carers now more than ever before. This is especially true for siblings and older children because we need to keep children in the communities to which they belong.

Contact me on the form below if you want to arrange a call to chat about fostering. There’s no cost or commitment; Verve offers clarity on becoming a foster carer to match the needs of children in your community, and together, we make a difference…


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