Updated: Jan 5
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 be brought up in care to go on and lead an Independent Fostering Organisation, known as IFA's.
2. Setup as a Community Interest Company, we made a conscious decision to make sure everything we do is about providing world-class support for looked after children, young people and their carers. No private dividends for shareholders. 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.
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 pieces of research into various areas of children's lives, as we seek to advise on key pieces of legislation, 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're creating a Trust where a % of our profits will be placed. This fund will be:
a) accessed by looked-after children who want to better their own lives and/or their communities
b) used to fund care-leavers salaries for X amount of time to help them into employment. Understanding that if a workplace doesn't have to cover their salary (not all care-leavers will be desirable for jobs) then the workplace can focus on mentoring, training and developing the care-leaver.
6. The final one being around the way we do things. For example, our social workers/front line practitioners will have a small caseload of children/families they oversee. Nationally, social workers have roughly between 20-30 caseloads with poor professional resources & support being added for them to utilise. Social workers work incredibly hard! It's such a tough job.
Our team will have between 6-10 and we'll also resource them with key professionals to input into the child's welfare and future. Think: psychologists, youth workers, mentors & other key specialisms. That's just one idea 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 reform the system.
"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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