Picture of foster carers Amara and Florence
Bexley was once again the centre of celebration for Black History Month in October

This annual event honours the contributions made by the Black African and Caribbean communities on a local, national, and international level.

Black History Month 2023 will be celebrated in the UK with the theme "Celebrating our Sisters / Saluting our Sisters / Matriarchs of Movements #WEMATTER." This historic event will honour and acknowledge the priceless contributions made by black women to British society, as well as provide inspiration and empowerment for upcoming generations.

The Civic offices hosted the launch event for Black History Month. It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking event. This inspiring event brought together over a hundred co-workers, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Bexley, the Chief Executive, Councillors, and members of CLT.

The message from the Mayor of Bexley was to come together, regardless of colour, to create a fantastic community - a great Bexley. Several inspirational black women shared their stories with us, emphasizing the value of education for both themselves and their elders. The significance of honouring mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and sisterhood.  Each of them talked about their professional journeys and challenges. Some talked about how their struggles had made them stronger, their aspirations for the future, and their urge to fit in and live, work, and study among people who looked like them and shared their opinions.

Members of the fostering recruitment team had the opportunity to meet foster carers, host and support providers and social workers from black, African and Caribbean backgrounds and speak to them about their experiences of working with Bexley and asked them to share their views. Here is what some of them had to say:

Amara, foster carer for over 10 years said:

My fostering experience caring for children and young people from diverse backgrounds as a black person has been a mix of challenging and rewarding. Being patient with them is the key to make them comfortable and feel like they are at home. Regarding the assistance I've had, I've felt like my social workers have given me a lot of help. As a member of the Fostering Together network, I am able to support other foster carers when they need it and receive support in return. My advice to Black people who want to foster is to go ahead and do what is right. As long as you have the heart to help children who have gone through a lot, colour does not matter. Just be ready to learn their ways, cultures, food and be ready to always reassure them that they matter."

Florence, Host and Support provider for over 18 years said:

Colour or language barriers never stopped us from supporting young people. It is incredibly rewarding to make them feel wanted and valued. Many of my children are now studying at universities, some have graduated, and some are even married and have children of their own. That truly makes me a proud mum. The advice I'd like to offer to other black people or people from ethnic minority communities intending to be a carer, is to view it positively. See it as an opportunity to make a difference in a child's life, to give them a future and a life they may never have had in the first place. Sometimes people discriminate against us, and some may doubt our ability to care for a child. It's essential not to take it personally. Instead, focus on preparing and training yourself, and it will be a wonderful and nurturing environment for that child."