Nyasha Gwatidzo is Founder of Banya, one of the UK’s top 10 fostering agencies. Founded in 1998 and family owned and run, the agency works with local Government to find children safe, secure and loving homes.
To date Banya has supported more than 7,000 children and 400 foster carers.
During Foster Care Fortnight, a national campaign to raise awareness of the transformational power of fostering, Nyasha is appealing for more Swindon and Wiltshire families and individuals to find out more about the rewarding life as a foster carer.
Nyasha said, “Coronavirus has had a severe impact on the waiting list of families ready to take a child or children in need. Banya has lost 25% of its families available to foster, with many of the carers no longer suitable due to their age or underlying health conditions. This issue is affecting fostering throughout the UK.
“Banya is currently receiving the profiles of up to 50 children a day in need of a foster home and there are just not enough approved foster carers to keep up with demand.
“Most foster children spend an average of 3.4 years with their foster families and their carers make a profound impact on their lives. If you are considering a life change and think you can offer a loving and stable family environment, I urge you to consider the rewarding life of a foster carer.”
There is no fixed foster carer profile. Couples, single carers, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, and same-sex couples are all part of the Banya foster care family. The commonality is an experience of working with people and an interest in community. The past professions of foster carers include, teachers, nurses, policeman, social workers, entrepreneurs, city workers, taxi drivers, caterers, prison wardens and pilots. They come from all kinds of backgrounds, are of all creeds and are of mixed ethnicity.
Nyasha added, “We believe that what makes Banya different is the continued support we offer foster families. Our work doesn’t end when we’ve placed a child. We are always on call to support our foster carers when they need us. Fostering does bring its challenges, but the rewards outweigh them. We’re proud that only 2.1% of Banya placements disrupt against a national average of 20%.”
Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, delivered by fostering charity, The Fostering Network. The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight (11th-14th May 2020) is ‘ThisisFostering’ sharing real life stories of foster children and their families. People are being encouraged to follow the hashtag #Thisisfostering on social media to find out more about life as a foster carer.
Nyasha said, “I setup Banya fostering agency after becoming a foster carer myself. I have first-hand experience of what it’s like, as well as being a child psychotherapist and supporting our families as they embark on their fostering journey. If I was to sum up fostering in five words I would choose, loving, rewarding, diverse, inspiring and transformational. This is fostering, a life changing and life affirming experience. Supporting children through difficult times in my passion, purpose and my life.”
To find out more about Banya fostering agency visit: www.banya.co.uk and to find out more about Foster Care Fortnight go to: www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/get-involved/foster-care-fortnight