Prestigious awards for “Any of Us” council fostering film project

Family celebrating

“Any of Us” – a powerful short film to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider becoming a foster carer for their local authority – picked up two prestigious awards this month.

Kent County Council participated in the project and supported it with funding.

The fostering film won the “Best Collaboration” and “Best Creative Comms” categories at the comms2point0 UnAwards which recognises excellence in public sector communications at a ceremony held in Birmingham.

Shortlisted in five categories in all, the film project is a collaboration involving more than 80 council fostering teams from across the UK: some 62 named on the original submission, and an impressive 87 in all who have now contributed to the production, administration and launch costs (including councils working jointly as regional fostering organisations and council-owned children’s trusts).

Comms 2Point0 awards logo

Comms 2point0 winners badge awarded to  KCC and 62 other local authorities.

“Any Of Us” looks at three very different people who all show some of the attributes needed to be a foster carer in incidents from their daily lives – Ayesha going to the aid of a pedestrian after a minor road accident, Neil calming down an aggressive situation in a snooker club, and Marsha identifying a young person showing signs of distress and intervening with them at school.

Different individuals in very different scenarios, but each in their own way showing the caring instinct that is fundamental to being a foster carer.

The message of the fostering film is “any of us can foster a child or young person, if you have the capacity to care.”

The film develops so that it becomes clear that one of these three everyday people will become the foster carer to Chloe. But which one of the three will be the one to make the difference? The main character’s stories are all interwoven with Chloe’s, as we see her journey into fostering.

The film was produced by ReelTwentyFive and project managed by agency CAN Digital and fostering consultant Rachel Brown, formerly of Coventry City Council’s fostering team – who submitted the entry on behalf of all councils taking part and is the originator of the local authority fostering film concept.

The UnAwards judging panel said: “This is exactly the kind of campaign the public sector needs right now. It combined precious resources to secure a better chance of success for everyone who collaborated – boosted by smart targeting and a beautifully shot video. It just goes to show what can be achieved through our industry working together to address common challenges.”

One of the categories for which the film was shortlisted – “Best Low-Cost Comms” – may seem strange for a film made to high professional standards. However, each council fostering team who participated contributed just £1,000 on average. For this they can all use the film in their recruitment marketing for as long as they want.

Kent County Council member Sue Chandler

Fostering recruitment is challenging and it’s important to make an emotional connection with potential foster carers...

Sue Chandler Cabinet member for Integrated Children's Services

In just the first month of the film being available, participating councils had 249 enquiries from potential new foster carers that can be attributed to views. These enquiries could result in 21 new foster carers over the next 12 months.

According to national charity The Fostering Network, 7,200 foster carer families are needed across the UK in the next year to make sure all the children who need fostering get appropriate care. The latest Ofsted stats revealed the number of foster carers working for local authorities has fallen by 11% since 2019.

Sue Chandler, Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, said:

“First and foremost, this award-winning project is about giving our fostering service a high-quality film that highlights the fact that anyone who cares has the potential to become a foster carer.

“Fostering recruitment is challenging and it’s important to make an emotional connection with potential foster carers through our marketing campaigns.

“It makes great business sense to collaborate with other council fostering teams to produce a film that communicates a universal message: We all need more people to step forward and become foster carers.

“That message is the same, from Kent to the Lake District – every town, city, and county – consider if you can offer a home to our most vulnerable children and young people.

“We really care about the work that we do. It’s all about giving children a chance to thrive and become the best person they can be.”

“Any of Us” is the fifth – and most well-supported – film in all to be produced by a growing partnership of councils and children’s trusts to promote local authority fostering.