Updated: Mar 4
Our experiences shape who we become and who we become shapes our outlook.
That's certainly true for me. Having been raised by various families and attending a number of different schools before finally finding a loving and stable home, you could say that the odds were not in my favour as a looked-after child. Sadly, it was true in the 80's/90's and is still true today, that the 'stats' do not look favourably on most looked-after children.
Thankfully, after a bumpy start, the love and support I received from my foster family began to shape me, influence my actions and behaviours and I was able to begin to flourish.
Fast forward quite a few years, and you could say the cycle of brokenness has finished. I've been married to Jo for 11 years, have 3 (almost 4) incredible children, have held great positions and job roles and am socially OK-ish! Phew - have I made it?!?
Founding NorthPoint Care is a bold declaration that change is possible. It's true, in even the worst of starts. I have been following, with increasing intrigue, the research around the brain becoming 're-wired' and 're-connected' when we encounter sustained unconditional love. Basically, the damage that has been incurred can be, over time, healed. This is incredible - why? Because it means that the many children who are living in situations of despair, grief, loss, abuse and other sad realities, have a hope for their future. If we can provide loving, stable, safe homes, with holistic wrap around care and investment, then we can begin to turn the tide on the brokenness we often see or hear about.
I have a hope that many looked-after children can go on to achieve whole, fulfilled lives.
That is the very reason for NorthPoint Care; to help champion children, young people and carers.
NorthPoint Care embodies my passion, belief and hope that we can see the UK care system reformed. I am committed to modelling change to the areas of the system that are broken.
You might be thinking: How are NorthPoint Care different from other great organisations and agencies out there? In short, I'd like to suggest that we are not in competition with others and that together we can help raise the sea-level on good practice and excellent care.
However, there are 6 areas that make us a collective unique:
1. Me. As far as I am aware, I am the only person to spend my entire childhood in care to then go on and lead an independent fostering organisation.
2. Setup as a Community Interest Company, we (a Board of Directors in voluntary capacity) made a conscious decision in that I, or others, did not own NorthPoint. Our sole focus was to make sure everything we do is about providing world-class support for looked after children, young people and their carers. No dividends or shareholders. Our seed funding was given by generous philanthropists and Trusts - no private equity firms or profiteers here.
More on the money at number 5.
3. We primarily work through the local church to find loving individuals and families. The local church played a profound part of my life growing up and has a huge part to play in serving looked-after children. Of course, we welcome interest from anyone and have ideas on how to create layers of support for carers too.
4. NorthPoint ThinkTank: In addition to employing incredibly accomplished and gifted staff, we understand the need and the importance of championing change at both a local and a national level. Our ThinkTank will commission key research into various areas of children's lives and the system, as we seek to be thought leaders, to bring about the very best for looked after children.
5. The Nannolly Trust: One of our tag lines is 'There For The Journey' and that's because we really do want to be there to offer love, care, a helping hand and resources to those in the care system, for every part of their journey.
We'll be creating a Trust whereby any profits will be directed. This fund will be:
a) accessed by looked-after children who want to better their own lives and/or their communities and neighbourhoods through projects, ideas and initiatives
b) used to part-fund care-leavers salaries or ongoing development to help them into employment and training. Understanding that if we can be there for the "cliff edge moments" then the chances of them thriving will be significantly increased.
6. The final one being around the way we do things; from the sizes of caseloads, the wrap-around care we will strive to implement, from the culture we create and the innovative and fresh ways we demonstrate care for our most vulnerable children. These are just some of the ideas we have - imagine the impact!
The future is bright and change is always possible.
Thanks for reading, please join with NorthPoint Care as we seek to serve and let's reimagine how best to champion looked after children and young people.
"I fully endorse the vision of NorthPoint Care, it really excites me. What a profound opportunity the Church has to offer the thousands of children in foster care hope and support at a time when the system is in need of reform. I'm inspired by Elijah and his team in their efforts and determination to make a real difference and want to endorse them to you. Let's get behind, involved and support this initiative and together see many lives transformed."
DR John Kirkby CBE
Founder Christians Against Poverty
Three times winner Sunday Times "Best Leader"
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