Still from Childhood film of the children at school

A new fostering film called ‘Childhood’ has been launched to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers and Coventry is playing its part.

In a ground-breaking national collaboration, 56 Local Authorities across England have worked together to share ideas and jointly fund the creation of a short film to raise awareness of fostering. It is aimed at finding more people who may be interested in becoming foster carers and providing nurturing, positive homes for children and young people across the country who need them.

The new film, simply called ‘Childhood’, highlights the impact of neglect on children, particularly brothers and sisters who may be left at times to try and care for each other. It shows the journey of ‘Sophie’ and ‘Charlie’ who are in a very difficult home situation where their needs are not being met, to being nurtured and supported through foster care to attend school and be able to enjoy their hobbies and interests. In other words, have a childhood. 

The project follows earlier, smaller partnerships between Coventry City Council and other councils in and around the Midlands. Together with the film company ReelTwentyFive, they have produced several award-winning films to highlight the need for foster carers. The most recent, ‘Out There’, was released in October 2021 and is currently shortlisted for a Royal Television Award.

Richard Bailey from ReelTwentyFive said:

“We absolutely love working on these films and are so proud of the work we have produced and the awards won for them. We feel that this is the best one so far. We have built on the knowledge of previous films, and really feel this one captures the simple yet complex messages about childhood and what it should mean”.

Cllr Pat Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“Sadly, it’s as important as ever to get the message out as widely as possible that there is still a great need for foster carers, not only in our city but across the country.

“Here in Coventry, we have many lovely people who foster in the city and they are supported by a fantastic team. Together, we can make a real and positive difference to many lives and we are fortunate to have their support. However, as we know, more needs to be done.

“Having such a powerful and impactful short film such as this really helps raise awareness of the importance of being a foster carer and, as in previous years, I’m confident we will see a similar impact. It’s also very pleasing to see the number of Councils taking part has increased as it’s vitally important nationally to reach out around the country not only in our own area. 

“The overall aim is for the film to be shared on social media in cities, towns and villages right across the UK, reaching thousands of people and highlighting the many benefits fostering brings and of course providing children and young people with safe, nurturing homes.”

John Gregg, Director of Children’s Services at Coventry City Council said:

“Foster carers are crucial to the work that children’s services do to keep the children of Coventry safe and provide high quality care to those children who are not able to live at home.  This film highlights the need for more foster carers to be recruited, especially those who are able to keep siblings together.”

Katherine Robinson, Coventry City Council’s Fostering Registered Manager added:

“The fostering service is proud to continue to be part of the ongoing efforts of local authorities to work together to identify more foster carers.  In Coventry, we are interested to hear from anyone who is interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer.  We would love to share more information about the support and training you can receive when becoming a carer for Coventry.”

Rachel Brown, Project Manager working with the Council Advertising Network and who has been a foster carer recruiter for a number of years, has led on the national project. Rachel said:

“Sadly, there is an unmet need for foster carers in the country today and there is likely to be an increase in this need. The cost-of-living crisis and other struggles families across the UK are facing creates and escalates difficulties for many.

Having worked on previous projects we know that these beautifully crafted films have a real impact. With the support of the Council Advertising Network, I am really proud that we will reach even further around the country, with up to a third of all council fostering services in England participating. We’d like to thank every single person involved in what has been a great collaborative experience.

The aim is that this film will be shared on social media and other platforms, right across the country, reaching many more people and leading them to consider whether the rewarding role of fostering could be an option. “

The film will have a live premiere at midday on 13 October at The Everyman Cinema, Birmingham. This will include an introduction from Kevin Williams, the Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, and Rachel Brown, project manager working with the Council Advertising Network. Everyone attending from the participating councils will then be asked to share the film via all social media platforms and help spread the message across the UK using the hashtags #FosterForYourCouncil and #Childhood.

The film will be available to watch and share from Coventry City Council’s social media platforms and from their Fostering website from noon on 13 October 2022.

There are 56 participating councils and council-owned services involved in the national project.

View the transcript

Published: Thursday, 13th October 2022