A Day in the Life of Priya: Team Leader at Progress

As a team leader at Progress Children’s Services, Priya has a busy but rewarding day overseeing the care of the young people. “I run all the shifts that I’m on. I do all the allocations and then I’m in charge of the other support workers making sure that they’re doing their job,” Priya explains of her responsibilities. 

Her day starts early, arriving at the house to check in with the overnight staff and get briefed on how the night went. “I write reports covering issues including the petty cash, logging in all the receipts,” Priya notes of her morning tasks. She then ensures the young people are up and getting ready for their day activities. 

Throughout the morning, Priya is checking in on the different staff members and young people. “Making sure everything gets done,” she says. This may involve resolving any conflicts, addressing any issues that arose overnight, or providing guidance to staff on caring for young people with complex needs. 

In the afternoon, Priya focuses on training and mentoring new staff members. “When people start here, I tend to be the one to mentor them. And tell them how to do things,” she says. She enjoys forming close bonds with her colleagues and helping them learn. 

Evenings bring more responsibilities like handling medications and doing evening checks on the residents. “We just do like the handles in the evening and just make sure the shifts go well,” Priya notes. She works to ensure a smooth transition to the overnight staff. 

By the end of her long day, Priya feels a sense of pride and accomplishment in her role. “I’ve worked very, very hard to get where I am,” she says. Sometimes tiring, she finds the work rewarding knowing she’s making a positive difference in the lives of the young people at the service. 

A Day in the Life of Jade: A Residential Support Worker at Progress

Jade, a dedicated residential support worker at Progress Children’s Services, brings enthusiasm and compassion to her daily routine. Jade’s commitment to nurturing young people shines through in her everyday activities. Here is what a day looks like in the life of Jade, at Progress.

Jade’s day typically begins with the important task of waking and preparing our young people for the day. This includes ensuring they are dressed, fed, and ready to start their day on a positive note. “The mornings are crucial in setting a positive tone for the day,” Jade explains. “I focus on making sure the children are ready for school with everything they need.”

Once the young people are off to school, Jade shifts her attention to various administrative tasks and housekeeping responsibilities. “During this time, I take care of paperwork, ensure everything is in order, and handle any necessary checks,” Jade elaborates. “It’s important to keep the environment organised and prepared for when the children return.”

When they return from school, Jade and her team engage with the young people to plan the evening’s activities. “We sit down with them and discuss what they would like to do for the evening,” Jade says. “It’s essential to involve them in decision-making and ensure they have activities they enjoy.”

Jade emphasises the importance of tailoring activities to each young person’s interests and needs. “We have a diverse group of children with unique preferences,” Jade explains. “Some enjoy outdoor activities like football or bike rides, while others prefer indoor pursuits such as arts and crafts or computer activities.”

Throughout the day, Jade maintains a focus on building positive relationships with the young people. “Being a good role model and fostering trust are key aspects of our interactions,” Jade emphasises. “We want our young people to feel safe, supported, and valued.”

Even when the young people are at school, Jade remains engaged with her responsibilities. “We often have one or two children who stay back at the house during school hours,” Jade notes. “This allows us to provide individualised attention and support.”

Jade’s daily routine is characterised by flexibility and adaptability. “Every day is different, and we need to be responsive to the young people’s changing needs and preferences,” Jade reflects. “It’s a dynamic environment that keeps us on our toes.”

As the day winds down, Jade and her team assist the young people with their evening routines and ensure they are ready for a restful night. “We help the children wind down, get ready for bed, and ensure they feel safe and cared for,” Jade explains. “It’s all about creating a supportive and nurturing environment.”

Reflecting on her role at Progress, Jade expresses gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact on young prople’s lives. “I find great fulfilment in nurturing these children and helping them thrive,” Jade says. “Every day presents new challenges and rewards, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Jade’s dedication and passion for her work exemplify the values of Progress Children’s Services. Through her daily efforts, Jade contributes to creating a safe, supportive, and enriching environment where children can flourish and grow.

Be Like Jade, join us


We have rewarding career opportunities for Support Workers across Progress children’s and young adults services. Interested? Visit progresscare.co.uk/jobs to find out more about our current roles, or send your up-to-date CV to recruitment@progresscare.co.uk

Empowering and Amplifying Children’s Voices at Progress

Supporting the young people under the care of Progress extends far beyond mere rhetoric; it’s a fundamental ethos deeply embedded within our values. Every day, we actively seek innovative ways to empower each individual and provide platforms for expression, ensuring their voices resonate throughout Progress. 

This week, we are thrilled to showcase two pioneering initiatives aimed at fostering communication and nurturing essential life skills among the young people we have the privilege to support: the introduction of a small post box and the re-launch of the Voices of Progress initiative. 

Angeline Freer, Head of Corporate and Commercial Services at Progress recently donated a vibrant red post box, to facilitate an exciting avenue for interactive expression. Angeline purchased the post box as she recognised its potential to spark young people’s imaginations and build skills for everyday life. Being small in stature, the small post box delivers inclusivity for wheelchair users and those who’s height does not enable them to reach a normal post box. 

Angeline envisions the post box facilitating a wide range of activities, offering young people the opportunity to deposit letters, cards, and feedback. Cultural festivals and birthdays etc. prompt the children to convey messages to their families, caregivers, or support network, fostering a sense of independence and agency, along with feedback on our services during Voices of Progress events. Located at our Resources Centre, the box is accessible to young people across Progress’ diverse services. 

Beyond its practical function, the post box serves as a vital tool for skill development. Simple tasks like mailing a letter can pose challenges for some children and adolescents. Engaging in this activity not only cultivates communication skills but also provides insight into the workings of the postal system, fostering a deeper connection to the community through meaningful participation. 

The post box’s arrival has sparked curiosity and enthusiasm, reinforcing Progress’ unwavering commitment to nurturing young people’s growth. This innovative addition provides a unique platform for children to share their perspectives, thereby bolstering their confidence in articulating their thoughts. 

Voices of Progress 

During a recent event hosted by Progress’ outstanding fostering service, children were invited to express their thoughts about their foster carers. This week, we are privileged to share the heartfelt messages of four children, accompanied by poignant reflections from the fostering service highlighting each child’s individuality. 

This initiative underscores Progress’ steadfast dedication to amplifying the voices of every child and young person under our care, ensuring that their experiences are heard, valued, and prioritised.

World Autism Awareness Day: Progress’ autism-aware approach

Tuesday 2 April 2024 is World Autism Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.

Autism is mainly characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.

The stigmatisation and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policymakers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.

700,000

There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

30%

Just 30% of autistic adults in the UK are in any form of paid employment. This is amongst the lowest rates of employment for people with additional needs or disabilities.

3x

Autism is 3 times more prevalent in boys than girls. Signs of autism in girls can present themselves differently and as a result can be misdiagnosed or missed leading to more boys getting a diagnosis.

Progress’ autism-aware approach to interior design

“Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.” 

At the core of Progress’ approach to interior design is the concept of sensory design. We utilise principles such as space, colour, texture, form, and light to create spaces that meet the unique sensory requirements of the children they care for. These principles are not just about aesthetics; they are fundamental in addressing the sensory needs of the children.

Preet Anand, founder of Mood Interiors, has been instrumental in redefining the role of interior design at Progress’ homes. Preet and her team approach each Progress project by understanding the specific needs of the children. She described it as a comprehensive process that takes into account the individual requirements of each child.

In sensory design, colour plays a pivotal role. Preet says, “Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.”

A day at Oak Cottage: Progress’ Children’s Residential Service

Visiting Oak Cottage feels like stepping into a peaceful sanctuary where every child is welcomed, every voice is valued, and every moment is cherished. It’s a place where compassion, dedication, and commitment are woven into every interaction. 

The staff here aren’t just titles like support workers or managers; they’re companions on a journey with the children, showing empathy, respect, and genuine care. 

One morning, I joined a team meeting at Oak Cottage. While the team discussed passionately, the guinea pigs playing nearby provided a calming effect. The team’s focus was on providing exceptional care for the children, ensuring each child has memorable experiences daily. 

Each team member shared insights, all driven by a desire to provide the best care possible. Oak Cottage is a sanctuary where every individual is understood, supported, and uplifted. 

At its core, Oak Cottage believes in understanding everyone’s dreams and rights to a purposeful life. Challenges are seen as opportunities for growth, and every moment is cherished. 

Through care and companionship, Oak Cottage creates an environment where love prevails, forming strong bonds between staff and children. 

Within Oak Cottage, qualities like love, compassion, and resilience shape lives. Every interaction holds the power to transform, thanks to kindness and support. 

As the meeting ended, a sense of purpose lingered—a commitment to continue uplifting and empowering every soul at Oak Cottage. 

Oak Cottage isn’t just a service; it’s a beacon of hope, showing the transformative power of empathy and community. The sign at the door says it all: “Welcome to our home.” 

If you would like to find out about current opportunities at Oak Cottage or any of our other services, please visit www.progresscare.co.uk or contact the Recruitment team directly on 01902 561 066 for a confidential chat about our roles.

From stay-at-home mum to vibrant team leader: Harjeet’s progress at Progress

“I do want to make a change. I want to be that person that that child can look up to, somebody that’s going to be there for them.” 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we shine a spotlight on Harjeet, a remarkable team leader at Progress Children’s Services. For this article, Harjeet shares insights into her career journey, the challenges she faced, and the importance of supporting women in the workplace. 

Harjeet’s journey into the social care sector was fuelled by a passion for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families. She reflects, “I always wanted to be that person that a child could look to, somebody that’s going to be there for them.” Despite the demanding nature of the job, Harjeet’s commitment to providing love, stability, and support to those in need has remained unwavering over the past six years. 

Although Harjeet has transitioned from a support worker to a team leader, encountering various challenges along the way, she found Progress at a jobs fair at a period when she was trying to get back to work after years of being a stay-at-home mother.  

Her instincts as a mum have also helped her to navigate complex situations with empathy and professionalism, earning her the respect and admiration of her colleagues. Beyond working with her colleagues, her passion for her role is to support and be the voice for the children under her care. Harjeet remarks, “I want to be able to advocate for them because they don’t always have that voice.”  

In her current role, Harjeet plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of her team and the delivery of high-quality services to the children under their care. 

One of the highlights of Harjeet’s career was being recognised for her outstanding contributions over the past five years during the awards ceremony at Progress Staff Conference 2023. Although she was not in the hall when her name was called, the resounding applause served as a testament to her hard work, dedication and warm personality. Despite the demanding nature of her job, Harjeet finds fulfilment in knowing that she is making a positive impact on the lives of others. And she is always wearing a smile. 

As we reflect on Harjeet’s journey, she personifies the resilience, strength and unlimited capabilities of women in leadership, particularly at Progress where women are encouraged and supported to aim higher. Harjeet acknowledged Progress’ support of her passions and desires to achieve her goals. While she remains ambitious, Harjeet reiterated her commitment to continuous development, and giving her best in her current position.  

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us honour Women of Progress like Harjeet who inspire us to dream big and break barriers. 

Providing Individualised Care for Young People with Complex Needs at Hilton House

At Progress Children’s Services, the focus is on meeting the unique needs of young individuals, especially children with complex challenges. Josh, manager of one of our new children’s homes, offers an in-depth look into the service’s distinctive approach, its journey, and the impactful progress achieved within a short period. 

The home, Hilton House, is built on a singular focus: providing individualised care for young people with complex needs. As Josh reflects on the service’s inception, he emphasises, “our goal was to create a haven where each individual receives tailored support, recognising the uniqueness of their challenges and strengths.” 

The journey started in November 2023, when the first young person moved in. Josh highlights the cohesive bond formed among staff members. “We’ve built a team that understands the intricacies of specialised care, creating a supportive environment for both residents and staff,” he notes. 

As the home continues on its mission, Josh noted that the key to overcoming challenges is the dedicated team understanding the importance of trust-building and the need for a secure environment. “We navigate challenges together, ensuring the well-being and comfort of our residents,” he explains. 

Qualities of the Ideal Team Member 

Comprising individuals with extensive experience in the care sector, Josh’s team has been instrumental in achieving early successes. However, recruitment remains an ongoing focus. “We are committed to bringing in individuals who share our passion for specialised care. Finding the right team members, especially those willing to commit to full-time roles, is crucial for our continued success,” Josh states. 

Josh articulates the qualities he values in team members, emphasising the importance of patience, understanding, and a willingness to invest hard work. “Our ideal team members recognise the significance of small achievements and approach their work with compassion. They understand the journey and challenges that come with specialised care,” he highlights. 

The Joy of Caring: The Heart of the Service 

For Josh, the joy of caring lies in witnessing achievements of young people. “It’s about celebrating the small steps, the gradual independence achieved by our residents. The unique challenges of each day are met with teamwork, compassion, and a genuine commitment to making a positive impact,” he shares. He added that Progress places a strong emphasis on the personal growth and development of everyone under its care. 

The team at Hilton House have rapidly built a shared trust and remarkable achievements. Josh attributes this success to experienced staff and effective team dynamics. “Trust is at the core of our approach. The successes we’ve witnessed are a testament to the dedication of our team and their ability to form strong connections with the residents,” he affirms. 

Blending Experience and Expertise 

As the discussion turns to prospective team members’ qualifications, Josh emphasises the importance of both experience and formal qualifications. “We welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those with experience in elderly care or different children’s homes. Personal qualities, such as patience and understanding, are equally vital in our line of work,” he states. 

Josh shares his personal journey, highlighting the transition from agency work to a fulfilling career in residential care. “Residential care offers camaraderie, teamwork, and a constant stream of new challenges. It’s not just a job; it’s a career that becomes immensely rewarding when approached with dedication and passion,” he reflects. 

A Bright Future Ahead 

Josh provides a glimpse into the ongoing progress at the service. “Our structured approach to transition and dedicated team have laid the foundation for positive outcomes. As we continue to grow, our impact on the lives of the young individuals we support will only strengthen,” he expresses with optimism. 

The home stands as a testament to the transformative power of specialised care. Through its unwavering commitment to individualised support, compassionate team dynamics, and a focus on positive outcomes for our children and young people, Josh and his team members at the service are carving a distinctive path in the realm of children’s services. The journey is ongoing, with the promise of a brighter and more fulfilling future for the residents under its care. 

We have career opportunities for experienced Support Workers for our children’s homes in Aldridge and Wolverhampton. Contact us to book your space at our forthcoming recruitment day. Shifts Available: Earlies and Lates OR Long Days, Nights – Full Time Hours. Send your CV to recruitment@progresscare.co.uk
Or call 01902 561 066 

Halloween at Progress

Happy Halloween, Progress.

Halloween is a big deal in the United Kingdom with spending in the UK alone originally estimated to total £777 million in 2023, up 13% from a projected £687 million in 2022 and £607 million in 2021. At Progress, homes and services have been adorned with Halloween decorations and here are some of them:

Designing for Sensory Enrichment

This is not just about Hilton House or Progress. It is a journey into the thoughtful design that enhances the lives of children in care.

When it comes to interior design, the goal is often to create spaces that are visually appealing and stylish. However, at Progress Care Solutions (widely referred to as Progress), interior design serves a more profound purpose. It’s about crafting environments that cater to the unique sensory needs of children in care, and Preet Anand, the interior designer behind it all, is passionate about making a difference. 

Preet Anand, founder of Mood Interiors, has been instrumental in redefining the role of interior design at Progress’ homes. She believes that inhabited spaces should empower and enable individuals, especially children with special needs. “Interior design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about improving lives,” says Preet. 

Progress, an organisation dedicated to providing top-tier care for children, especially those with special needs, has long adopted an approach that goes beyond mere functionality. The philosophy is clear: it’s not the children who are disabled; it’s the environment that can be disabling. And that’s where Preet and her expertise come into play. 

The Sensory Design Philosophy 

In their research on the effect of light and colours in the built environment on autistic children’s behaviour, Ashwini Sunil Nair and colleagues reported that different hues have varying effects on autistic children, with many neutral tones and mellow shades proven to be autistic-friendly with their calming and soothing effect, while bright, bold, and intense colours are refreshing and stimulating. They also reported that the stimulus of bright-lighting causes behavioural changes in autistic children prone to light sensitivity. You can access the study here. 

Preet, noted that the autistic spectrum is sometimes/typically sensitive to colours with deeper tones which is why she always keep to pastels when designing these types of homes. “I always avoid red and pink where possible, due to the adverse (triggering) effect. Other than that, the colours used are calming and positive.”  

She noted Progress’ newest home, Hilton House’s “harmonising” colour selection, is based on blue to evoke a sense of serenity in the home.

Blue is calming; green is encouraging (growth), yellow increases appetite, so works well in the dining room.

“Blue is calming; green is encouraging (growth), yellow increases appetite, so works well in the dining room. Lilac is said to help reduce aggression (but was mainly for the consistency of cool colour tones),” says Preet. 

At the core of Progress’ approach to interior design is the concept of sensory design. The organisation utilises principles such as space, colour, texture, form, and light to create spaces that meet the unique sensory requirements of the children they care for. These principles are not just about aesthetics; they are fundamental in addressing the sensory needs of the children. 

Preet and her team approach each project by understanding the specific needs of the children. She described it as a comprehensive process that takes into account the individual requirements of each child. “When it comes to space,” Preet explains, “we need to make sure the environment accommodates high-energy situations, as well as rapid movement for those with mobility challenges.” 

In sensory design, colour plays a pivotal role. Preet says, “Colours can have a profound impact, especially for children with autism. We strive to create adaptable spaces where colours can be changed to suit individual preferences, ensuring the environment remains stimulating and comforting.” 

The Role of Texture and Materials 

The materials used in sensory design are chosen with care. Furniture materials must be durable and easy to clean, as children in these environments may interact with them differently than in mainstream settings.  

Preet notes, “Furniture needs to be both functional and safe, taking into account the possibility of challenging behaviours.” 

Sound, too, is carefully managed. Acoustics and sound regulation are paramount, creating a comforting auditory environment for children. “Good sound-bouncing practises are essential to ensure that children can have conversations without unnecessary distractions,” says Preet. 

Natural Light, Personalisation and Durability 

The exposure to natural light is vital in creating a sensory-rich environment. It helps regulate the body’s systems and is particularly significant in homes where children may not always have the opportunity to be outdoors.  

“We ensure that the exposure to natural light is optimised to help children connect with their surroundings and understand the time of day,” Preet explains. 

One of the key elements in Progress’ design philosophy is personalisation. Each child should have the freedom to personalise their living space, just like any other child. Even if they require specialised furniture or equipment, their personal touches, whether it’s a favourite colour or a beloved theme, can make the space uniquely theirs.

In a space that is carefully designed to meet the sensory needs of children, personalisation remains a significant aspect. It’s about creating an environment that can become a home, a place of comfort and familiarity. 

For children with special needs, personalisation extends to the ability to make the space uniquely theirs. From a favourite colour on the walls to beloved themes or characters, Progress ensures that each child can add their personal touches to their living spaces. The goal is to create an environment that is not just functional but comforting and inviting. 

But durability is also a crucial consideration.  

Furniture and materials are chosen not just for their visual appeal but also for their ability to withstand the rigours of daily use in a care environment. Progress believes in making the right investments in high-quality, durable furniture that ensures the safety and comfort of the children they serve. 

Progress’ homes holistic approach 

What sets Progress’ homes apart is the dedication and passion of its staff. As Preet observes, “Progress is not just about providing care; it’s about making a difference in the lives of children. The staff sees this as a passion, not just a job.” 

She noted that the care provided at Progress is unmatched, and the commitment of its staff is evident in the way they maintain the spaces. “A well-designed environment can empower and enrich the lives of children with special needs,” says Preet. “The passion and dedication of the staff play a crucial role in making this vision a reality.” 

Interior design at Progress’ services is more than aesthetics; it’s about enriching lives and enabling children to thrive. The sensory design philosophy, crafted by Preet, has transformed the way these homes are experienced. Progress recognises that well-designed spaces can create environments where children feel safe, comfortable, and empowered. 

Redefining the role of interior design in the care sector 

Progress, working with Preet, are redefining the role of interior design in the care sector. The redefinition is based on the understanding that a well-designed environment can empower and enrich the lives of children with special needs. By carefully considering space, colour, texture, form, and light, Progress has created spaces that cater to the unique sensory needs of the children, making their homes truly enabling and empowering. 

Preet acknowledges the passion and dedication of Progress’ staff. “These individuals don’t just see it as a job; they see it as a calling,” she explains. The caring and empathetic approach of the staff plays a crucial role in creating an environment where children feel safe, comfortable, and empowered. 

The impact of interior design in a care setting goes beyond the aesthetics; it extends to the emotional well-being of the children. Progress recognises that providing care isn’t just about meeting physical needs; it’s about creating a holistic environment where children can thrive emotionally and psychologically. 

Preet elaborates, “We design spaces to provide comfort, a sense of belonging, and an environment where children can express themselves.” This houlistic approach includes the intentional use of soft furnishings, personalisation, and adaptable spaces, enabling children to find solace and engage with their surroundings in their own unique way. 

Preet believes that a well-designed environment fosters a sense of empowerment. Progress understands that children with special needs can thrive when they are in spaces that allow them to express themselves and feel in control. 

“An empowered child is a confident child,” says Preet. The empowering environment created by Progress allows children to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of ownership over their spaces. 

From its head office on Millfields Road, Wolverhampton, to its services and homes spread across West Midlands, the environment within Progress serves as a safe haven for children who often face a world that can be overwhelming. The dedication of staff in maintaining the spaces and creating an inviting atmosphere plays a vital role in this. 

Staff members are not just caregivers; they are keepers of the space. Their commitment to keeping the environment clean, well-maintained, and inviting is evident in the way children feel comfortable within these homes. In return, the spaces created at Progress foster a sense of belonging and trust. 

Hilton House’s beacon status of Progress’ vision 

One of the finest examples of Progress sensory design is Hilton House. A vivid illustration of how thoughtful design can transform a space into a sensory-rich environment. Hilton House is a testament to the careful consideration of sensory needs. Its exterior may be minimally colourful but it’s once you step inside that the magic truly unfolds.  

The Mood Interiors team, led by Preet, created a space that is more than just a home for the children at Hilton House. It’s a canvas of sensory experiences, a tapestry of comfort and engagement, designed with the children’s unique needs in mind.  

The sensory richness extends beyond colours. Hilton House boasts a multitude of seating options, including chairs of different kinds and shapes, mood lights, among others. These options provide children with a range of choices in their seating, relaxation and activities arrangements, catering to their individual preferences and comfort.  

The rooms at Hilton House are also adorned with sensory-rich elements, enabling children to engage with their environment and express themselves. From colour-changing lights to a thoughtfully selected colour palette, every detail contributes to the sensory experience. 

Making sense of it all 

Progress’ approach to interior design is a testament to its commitment to the well-being and growth of the children it serves. The role of Preet Anand and her team from Mood Interiors in shaping these spaces cannot be overstated. 

By considering sensory design, personalisation, and a holistic approach to creating empowering environments, Progress stands as a beacon in the care sector. Its dedicated staff, who are passionate about their mission, are at the heart of this endeavour. 

The synergy between the thoughtful design of spaces and the dedication of the staff is where the magic happens. Children in Progress’ care are given more than a home; they are offered spaces where they can flourish, express themselves, and grow in confidence. 

Claudia and Her Dozen Foster Kids

Celebrating Black History Month 

While Black History Month began in the United States of America in the 1920s, it was first celebrated in the UK in 1987, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, and happens every October. 

As we commemorate Black History Month, it is essential to recognise and celebrate the incredible individuals who have made a profound impact on the lives of others. Claudia, a foster carer with Progress, is one such remarkable individual whose journey into foster caring has not only transformed the lives of countless children but also shattered preconceived notions about who can be a foster parent. 

Claudia’s journey into foster care began with her profound love for children. From a young age, she was the go-to person for her cousins and their children, and children always seemed to gravitate toward her. In her own words, she shares, “I love kids. Ever since I was young, all my cousins would always bring their kids over, and the kids always basically love me and they just stick to me.” 

However, her official journey as a foster carer began while she was working as the Deputy Manager for a residential home catering to individuals with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. Claudia recalls this pivotal moment: “My journey started when I was a manager, Deputy Manager for a residential home for people with learning disability and challenges with mental health. I worked there for 11 years.” 

During her tenure at the residential home, Claudia encountered two young ladies who were struggling with severe self-harm and emotional issues. They made a heartfelt plea to Claudia, suggesting she adopt them or provide them with a nurturing home. Claudia shares their request, saying, “One of them said to me, ‘Why don’t you adopt me? I don’t have a place to live.’ And it resonated with me.” 

Claudia’s next step toward foster care began when her daughter left for university, leaving her with a three-bedroom house. Claudia’s response to this newfound space and her love for children was straightforward: “I was online looking for jobs, and I saw a pop-up about fostering. I just put in a message to say, ‘Can you tell me more about this? I always have kids. I’m a mother, I would say I am a carer, a giver and I’ve been working in care settings for kids or teens.” 

Over the years, Claudia has cared for numerous children, many of whom have stayed in contact with her and seek her guidance and support. In her own words, she acknowledges the lasting impact of her work: “I’ve got 12 of them, still in contact with a couple of them. They keep me busy, keep me occupied. I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

When asked about her remarkable success as a foster carer, Claudia humbly attributes it to her upbringing and values. She cites her mother as a significant influence: “My mom has always taken in relatives’ children and looked after them. And even after we left, she was still having kids at the house. Maybe that’s something because I’ve grown up in that sort of environment.” 

Claudia’s dedication to fostering is even more impressive when considering her academic pursuits. She managed to complete her studies, obtaining a degree in psychology while working two days a week at a university. In her own words, Claudia explains her drive: “I like to stay busy because once your mind is busy, you’re learning, and I think you’re never too old to learn.” 

Claudia’s journey as a foster carer is a testament to the power of a single individual’s dedication and love to make a difference in the lives of children in need.  

As we celebrate Black History Month, her story serves as an inspiration to challenge stereotypes, embrace diversity, and open our hearts and homes to those who need it most. Claudia has not only given countless children a better future but has also enriched our collective history with her remarkable journey as a single Black foster carer.

Inquire about foster caring today, click here.