Working under the name of ‘The Studio of the Fostered Heroes’, the group, whose ages range from eight to 21 years, has produced a six-minute animated film in collaboration with Blue Cabin and its team of professional artists.
Jenny Young, Director of Blue Cabin, said: “At Blue Cabin we specialise in helping care-experienced children and young people build better futures and we know that creativity – whether that’s music-making, design, or, in this case, film-making – really helps young people to gain confidence, express themselves and forge stronger relationships with those around them.”
The young people themselves narrate the film, taking the viewer on ‘a journey of our experience as young people in foster care’. They go on to share some of their own personal stories and explain how it feels to be adopted, in foster care, residential care or kinship care (which is when a child is cared for by a relative or friend).
The film also aims to dispel what the group feels are stereotypes and misconceptions about being in care, and includes comments on some of the challenges they have faced, including moving between foster placements and answering questions about their personal lives.
Cllr Alison Barnes, Cabinet Member for Children at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This just shows what our young people can do when they get the chance. It truly is an excellent video. It’s professional but also moving and informative and you really get the sense of the children and young people’s authentic voice coming through. The act of making it has not only enthused them and given them confidence but also given them the chance to learn new skills. I’d like to congratulate Blue Cabin and everyone involved but, most of all, our children and young people who have done so well.”
Comments from the children and young people who made the film include: “This film represents me as a child in care and as a person.” “We hope that people will ask questions and learn about what it is to be fostered but don’t ask personal questions like ‘so how come you ended up in care?’” “There have been many footsteps in our journey but we walked our way to love.”
The children and young people involved in the project are all members of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Children in Care Council, which gives care-experienced people a voice within the local authority.
They worked alongside Blue Cabin Associate Artists Nicola Golightly and Ruth Johnson, and film-maker Laura Degnan, to create the film and learn new skills including design, script-writing and animation.
The film will now be used to raise awareness of the experiences of children in care and what is important to them and will be seen by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council employees and elected members, as well as being shared with organisations that work with care-experienced children and young people.
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We are grateful to have received core funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Segelman Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Garfield Weston, Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and The Leathersellers Foundation.