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child staring through a window, text reads, Verve , every child matters.

Verve Recruitment; the changing face of foster care recruitment.

Verve Recruitment is on a mission to make a positive impact as the changing face of foster care recruitment. I believe that supporting the not-for-profit sector can provide vulnerable children with a sense of belonging in their communities. Unfortunately, there is a significant shortage of foster carers, leaving over 12000 children without the support of at least one of their siblings. This is especially true for older children who face the most significant challenges finding foster homes. They are also the most expensive age range, and now there are more for profit fostering agencies than not for profits, the financial implications bite deep with local authority budgets who have the corporate care for vulnerable children.

I believe that every child deserves a loving and nurturing environment where they can thrive. Through Verve Recruitment, I have seen how recruitment and retention of foster carers can make a real difference in the lives of children in need. I am confident that with dedicated fostering campaigns we will continue to positively impact the lives of vulnerable children. I remain staunch in my commitment to supporting the not-for-profit sector; however, corporate businesses makes huge profit’s from vulnerable children. It’s big business, and they are not going away.

The problem was I understood Corporate.

The problem was that I understood corporate. I knew the corporate world because I had a long and successful career in the Television and broadcast design sector. As I grew older, I wanted a career change, so I went back to education, studying childcare, child psychology, and child and adolescent counselling. My social care pedagogy is Highscope. I love working with children and young people and endorse the outdoors’s learning benefits and health, both physical and mental.

Through my career change, the path led me to foster care recruitment. I saw an ad for a foster care recruitment advisor for a local independent fostering agency. At that time, I knew little about foster care but plenty about recruitment. So I applied and got the job.

I don’t know why I applied; the pay was awful, and realistically, I had stepped back. But I’m a realist, and I wasn’t getting younger. The days when people paid you based on experience are gone. So, I made it my business to learn about foster care because I wanted to find people who could significantly impact children and thought I could make a difference.

Looking back, I know I was naïve and quickly discovered the reality behind foster care recruitment. The fact is my job was to find as many foster carers as I could to meet targets, pay bonuses and add to the already vulgar profits made from vulnerable children. I also discovered the acquisitions included residential children’s care and alternative education provision.

I was clueless, and I was angry once I joined the dots. I’m well aware of the corporate world, and in business, profit is healthy. But not profit from vulnerable children; thus Verve Recruitment began.

I began to understand that more foster carers were needed, but they must have the skills to meet the needs of children in care. We also need more sibling foster carers to prevent sibling groups from being split up. There’s also a huge demand for parent-child foster carers, and we need to recruit those with specialist skills to support Step-down foster care.

I learned the difference between short-term and emergency foster carers; this information was necessary, and I joined the dots by researching. Once I realised this, I recruited people who lived within our communities to support vulnerable families, keep children local to their families, and, more importantly, keep vital contact with loved ones. Verve Recruitment had a purpose; I joined the dots led by compassion and love for children.

Keeping contact with children matters; I had become a nana. If my grandchildren were removed and I couldn’t see them, it would break my heart. The bond between generations is precious; we should support it to prevent vulnerability. Removing children from families and homes where they are loved is a sticking plaster generated by profit.

Also, I am blessed to belong to three generations of women who, before foster care was recognised, took in other people’s children if they were vulnerable. Despite the harshest of backgrounds, living in Greengate and former poverty areas of Salford, my grandparents, had nothing but big hearts and the desire to help.

Verve Recruitment proudly supports Armed Forces Veterans.

My childhood was spent in Army barracks, as my dad served in the King’s Regiment; he was a proud Kingo. My motivation in life, ethics, and structure derives from my childhood as the daughter of a serving soldier. The stability of army life provided structure for me. I knew I was safe because I had my family and a family of armed forces families, as we lived and played together. It was a wonderful childhood. I gave this childhood to my daughter who proudly told me, that as a mum herself, especially as her children were getting older, she wonders how I never lost my shit with her! It was easy; I knew what happens when you do and that’s not what I wanted for her.

I know that stability is missing from many children’s lives. I relate to this. The importance of stability, especially for older children and teenagers in care is huge. Thankfully, many of my Armed Forces friends are foster carers; young people in their care thrive into positive adulthood because of the stability they bring into each other’s lives.

I set up Verve Recruitment as the changing face of foster care recruitment. I support the Not-for-Profit sector by recruiting potential foster carers from within the Armed Forces community I know and love. Also, I recruit within my community because we are a caring community. They have shown this through knitting campaigns, as many of the ladies who knit are former foster carers or have worked with children and raised their families through hardship. They want to make a difference, and they do this through a ball of wool…

Many veterans grew up in the care system; they joined for a better life or to escape troubled childhoods. The Armed Forces became a new family, and bonds of friendship formed throughout their lives.

Friendships made in the Armed Forces never leave. I realised this as I helped set up the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club over ten years ago at Pendleton Church, Salford. Initially, it was a place to meet fellow veterans, have a brew, or ‘pull up a sandbag’ and chat about times gone by.

However, younger veterans came and brought renewed vigour. These veterans are not ready to pull up a sandbag; they, too, are driven to make a difference. These veterans mentor young people in schools to prevent exclusion with Major Chris Chudleigh and the Re-Engage programme. They are foster carers who make a difference to older children because they associate with them.

Guidance from Armed Forces Veterans enables young people to find a better life as they have joined the Armed Forces. These young people have found success and are reaching goals beyond their imagination despite the labels attached to them and the lives they led as children.

Verve Recruitment – Every child matters.

Having worked in recruitment within the Independent Foster Care sector, I know the bonuses and profits made by businesses in the UK foster care system. I also know that companies that generate profit provide better services; nothing is wrong with that. However, making millions of profit from vulnerable children and young people by charging exorbitant fees to Local Authorities is wrong.

Vital support services are now closed, and we have created a vicious circle where vulnerable children and their families are now the victims. Sadly, lifelines like Sure Start Centres and support networks for families and children are scarce and postcode-dependent.

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

In response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, I launched knitting campaigns to help families stay afloat during these challenging times. By collaborating with community groups and charities, we were able to provide families with essential resources, such as emergency food parcels, baby clothes, and blankets.

Our efforts helped prevent vulnerable families from becoming vulnerable and reduce the number of children placed in care. Seeing the community come together and support one another during these difficult times was heartening.

While we acknowledge that this isn’t ideal, I am proud of the work we’ve done so far. By continuing to work together, we can create a better future for families and children in need.

By investing in family support networks, we can reduce the need for costly foster care, residential care, and alternative education from the private sector. Support networks enable local councils to allocate resources more effectively and protect families and children from harm.

Verve Recruitment and the Verve Community CIC remain committed to working towards a future where all families have the resources and support to thrive, even in adversity.

Verve Recruitment campaigns have achieved…

450 + Foster Care/ Supported Lodgings enquiries have been generated and actioned from my Verve Recruitment social media ads, blogs and recruitment drives.

250+ Amazing Ladies who Knit came forward to support my Knitting campaigns.

150+ Not for Profit Charities and Community groups collaborate to support vulnerable families.

Over 5000 Knitted Toys have been donated to foster children and local children in my community as Christmas presents.

5000+ Bereavement Blankets, Knitted Hearts, and Teddies have gone to the Pam Woods Bereavement Centre, Salford Royal Hospital to support those affected by Covid 19.

30000 Knitted Baby Clothes, Blankets have gone direct to mums and babies from Sure Start and Community Centres, Mother and Baby units to prevent vulnerability.

Image of a ball of wool and knitting needles. The text reads, the social impact of a ball of wool is huge when we add love...

Verve Recruitment – our knitting campaigns gave a purpose…

My Mum was recovering from a stroke, and I asked her to pick up her knitting again to distract her. 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, which 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; however, the future scared her. Knitting baby clothes helped her to ease 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; sadly, she never realised it.

Mum became a casualty of COVID-19, and waiting for over 11 hours for an ambulance meant that for her, survival was not possible. Like many families, we felt the pain of grief. We also felt the comfort of the knitted heart given to us by the Swan Team at Salford Royal Hospital. Many parallels in life hurt, but comfort drawn from a little ball of wool is immeasurable then and now. I wish I could find the lady who made those hearts and say thank you. But for now, I can’t. However, that’s another story; today’s technology makes anything possible.

Hilda Mary Croston, my Mum. Rest in peace. x

Verve Recruitment; the changing face of foster care recruitment

Verve Recruitment is the changing face of foster care recruitment, focusing on recruiting local foster carers. We believe caring skills are more important than age, location or sexual orientation.

We are proud to have founded the ‘Spinners Tea Room’ at the Spinners Mill in Leigh, which now serves as our office. Since 2018, I have been working from home, but with the pandemic, I had to put all my plans on hold. However, the Spinners Tea Room has provided a new home for our foster care recruitment and knitting campaigns.

Verve are fortunate to be part of the Spinners community, which boasts over 100 community groups making a difference in their unique way at the Spinners Mill with Jo Platt MP.

We also partner with SafeGuarden CIC/ CDD Services to offer DBS/RTW checks for the Not-for-Profit sector, with their Spotlite technology. Our Armed Forces Ambassador, Major Chris Chudleigh, supports the Re-engage program, and Verve Recruitment recruits for Forest Learning program pioneers to help children learn outdoors and understand the benefits of nature.

The Spinners Tea Room and Verve Community CIC logo

Verve Recruitment and Verve Community CIC have a positive impact on our community, with its 1920s theme. Our tea room is a great place to enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of tea while collaborating with like-minded people.

It is also a place where mothers can get baby clothes, blankets, and toys from our campaigns without any cost or referrals. Families can spend quality time together in this welcoming space, which helps to keep our communities connected.

If you want to contact us, please fill out the form below or call in at the Spinners Tea Room. Collaboration over tea and cake is the key to making a difference, so don’t be a stranger—come and have a brew…


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