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Who are Ascent

This year will mark 8 years since Ascent Fostering began and we thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce ourselves.

A lot has changed since 2013, our team has grown, the number of carers has increased, we’ve learnt a lot on the journey and have even adjusted to working through a pandemic. However, what has remained the same and has kept us going as a fostering agency, is our core values.

These core values are what makes Ascent Fostering Agency, the agency that it is today. We believe these values are what sets us apart from many other fostering agencies. These values have created a strong family dynamic and culture within the agency, where every team member, carer and young person are welcomed and heard.

So what are the Ascent values?:

  • WE GO OVER AND ABOVE IN OUR PROVISION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
    • Young people are listened to and actions are taken.
    • We believe in and conduct a therapeutic philosophy.
    • All young people are offered access to a wide range of after school and holiday activities.
    • All young people are offered a 1:1 trained mentor.
    • We encourage therapeutic assessment for all young people with therapeutic support offered, as appropriate.
  • SUPPORTING OUR CARERS IS AT THE HEART OF THE ORGANISATION
    • We communicate clearly with Carers, treating them as valued professionals.
    • Our carers all access an extensive monthly training programme.
    • Carers have a voice and their feedback shapes decisions.
    • The organisation supports carers through promoting their wellbeing.
    • We offer a strong financial support package to carers to allow them to focus on the children.
  • OUR TEAM FEEL VALUED AND ARE DEVELOPING THEIR SKILLS
    • We invest in the professional development of staff.
    • Our team understands the vision of the business.
    • Everyone has a voice in the organisation.
    • We create a fun place to work.
    • We respect people as mature individuals and encourage a work-life balance.

At the heart of Ascent Fostering is the determination to provide a therapeutic approach in all that we do. The agency works with children and young people who have a range of complex care needs. We stay committed to building a strong relationship with young people and accepting where they are at when coming to Ascent, we aim to see the world from their perspective which informs how we engage and go on their journey with them.

Our fostering model and structure is based on ‘Intentional Parenting’, believing that the onus is on adults to respond to the unmet needs of children positively. We understand that it is challenging to care for traumatised children, so the network needs to be trained, attuned and have the ability to see past the child’s presenting behaviours. We believe that carers and professionals need to act intentionally in their interactions with vulnerable children by providing nurture, affirmation, love, safety, structure and challenge in the hope to give them strategies to cope and move on positively with their lives.

If there is anything that we want to be known for, it’s for ensuring that everything we do is for the benefit of the children and young people who come into our care. Essentially, every team member we hire, each carer who comes on board and all our extended colleagues must have the benefit of the children and young people at the core of all that they do.

Yes, we are a fostering agency, but more importantly, we are a family where each person is highly valued and appreciated. Each person plays an integral role in making Ascent Fostering the agency that it is.

Would you like to learn more about Ascent Fostering Agency? Read our full ‘Statement of Purpose’ here. Or if you are thinking about becoming a foster carer, then click here to get in contact with one of our team.

Looking for a new challenge in your career, then joining the Ascent team may be the next career step. See our current career opportunities here.

The importance of love

Many people ask what do you need to become a good foster carer. Do I need a big house? Do I need copious amounts of cash? Do I need a big 4×4? Do I need to be qualified? Do I need to have children of my own? Do I need a partner?

 

These are questions we get asked a lot when people inquire about becoming a foster carer for Ascent, and although there are some mandatory requirements to become a foster carer, such as having a spare bedroom, what it actually takes to be a “good” foster carer is much simpler.

 

The Beatles said it best – all you need is love.

 

Being able to give a child unconditional and stable love is the simple foundation that is needed for a looked after child. Many of the children and young people in foster care have experienced trauma in some form or another and speak of the importance of being loved, feeling loved and being valued and supported.

 

Countless studies have shown that giving a child love vastly contributes to healthy development – resulting in life-long positive outcomes. Child Trends studies highlight that higher self-esteem, improved academic performance, better communication and fewer psychological and behaviour problems have been linked to children who encounter warmth and affection from adults in their lives.

 

The question that comes up frequently is ‘How can I love a child who isn’t biologically mine?’, the answer – love is choice, a decision you make despite your feelings and emotions and to go against the instincts you will be challenged with. It’s an action and a commitment to saying that no matter what I face, I will still continue to love.

 

We have all heard the saying ‘love conquers all’, and when you are or do decide to become a foster carer, love is what will help your young person thrive into the best person they can be. Being a foster carer is the opportunity to introduce a love that many children may not have come across before. A love that is patient, kind, consistent, understanding, stern, with boundaries and isn’t conditional.

 

Here at Ascent Fostering, we make sure that love is at the heart of each family and this Valentine’s Day we wanted to bring forth the message of love and the importance it holds in foster care.

 

Share the love, spread the love. Always

 

If you would like to find out more about how to become a foster carer, please get in touch with us and one of our team members will be happy to speak with you. Click here for further information.

 

“2020, what a year it was”

2020 was the year that no one expected, the entire world was forced to get accustomed to the ‘new normal’, adjusting to working from home, queues, masks and of course Zoom!

Although 2020 was not the year we planned at Ascent, as ever, we got through it. We still managed to stay connected to the Ascent family and didn’t let social distancing stop us from getting together as a family.

This year’s end of review will showcase some of Ascent’s 2020 highlights:

  • Much like the rest of the UK we adapted and changed our working practices to meet the challenging situation of the pandemic. We became masters of Zoom! Hosting meetings, training sessions, seminars, celebrations, and competitions all over Zoom. We were particularly fond of Head Wrap Wednesdays where the whole team would don headwraps. Check out all our Zoom fun in the link here. 
  • We celebrated our 7th birthday this year too! And of course, in true Ascent fashion, we celebrated in style (lockdown wasn’t going to hold us back). We sent out birthday cakes to all those who have had a major impact on Ascent over the years. Of course, it wouldn’t be a lockdown celebration without a Zoom party. We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and blew out the candles. A huge thank you again to all our Ascent family, past and present, without you we would not be celebrating 7 years.  To see more from our 7th birthday, click here. 
  • This year we welcomed 7 new families to Ascent – we are so happy to open our arms to  Sam & Ray, Sylvia, Samantha, Lucy, Jameela, Josephine, and Coral – welcome aboard!
  • This year we gave our young people a platform to really nurture their talents and creativity.  You may have spotted that we held baking, poetry, and art competitions throughout the year and the results were absolutely amazing. It even sparked some entrepreneurial spirit in one of our young people who has started a baking business whipping up sweet treats. Check out Manny Bakes Ldn here. 
  • Ascent also now has a superstar in its midst – our very own Kevin a.k.a KG Tha Comedian has made multiple TV appearances this year. You might have spotted him in the fantastic BBC One drama ‘The Capture’ or the hilariously funny ‘Famalam’ and you can spot him very soon in the new comedy ‘Bloods’ that follows the day in the life of paramedics. Keep up the good work KG, stay up to date with all his latest shows on Instagram.
  • We also have had a huge transformation in Ascent – it seems that lockdown has inspired some to catch the fitness bug. Mark H has had an amazing 2 stone weight loss and is now a dead ringer for George Clooney.
  • This year we also witnessed the powerful and important Black Lives Matter movement, where millions of people across the world peacefully demonstrated against the unlawful murders of innocent black people: R.I.P to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the hundreds more who have been innocently murdered. Here at Ascent, we were struck by these events and felt the need to bring awareness to the mistreatment of black people. Our young people responded brilliantly and reaffirmed the importance of the continued need to challenge and oppose racism in any guise through writing spoken word. To read some of the poems that were written, please click this link.    

  • Earlier this year, we wished Chantelle good luck as left for maternity. We are so happy to welcome Roshaan into the Ascent family. Congratulations to Chantelle on having a beautiful baby boy! We can’t wait to meet him and welcome you back.  
  • This year we had four students placed with us, Kiely, Ann-Marie, Mark, and Cheyenne. We place a strong commitment to learning and creating opportunities for people entering into social work. We also didn’t manage to scare them all away as the lovely Cheyenne has decided to join us full-time working with Kevin in the Mentoring team, after graduating with first-class honours. Huge congratulations to Cheyenne, we are extremely lucky to have you on the team!

  • And no end of the year wouldn’t be complete without the annual Christmas Party – huge thanks to Kevin and Sita for organising and putting together a fun 2 hours filled with games and competitions. Huge congratulations to the winners Group A  and to the best-dressed winners Chaina and Josephine, also a honourable mention to the individual winners David and Robert. 

Thank you for joining us on our end of year roundup, we hope you enjoyed reading what has been happening at Ascent in 2020. We cannot wait to see what 2021 holds.

One thing we do know is that whatever it brings, we know that we have each other and that we can get through almost anything.

So Happy New Year, see you in 2021!

Money Management Tips for teenagers

Money-Management-Tips-for-teenagers

“Money management tips for foster carers to share with their children”

Money money money!

A word that many of us find scary, even as adults. However, teaching a young person the importance of money management is a lesson that can benefit them hugely as they enter into adulthood.

Although the discussion of money is one that many tend to shy away from, it doesn’t have to be a scary conversation. We have compiled some money management tips for our foster carers that you can share with your young person to help them achieve financial success.

  • Transparency – Be open and honest when having conversations about money to normalise the discussion of money. Being less secretive about finances helps your young person learn about money. Understanding the concept of what comes in and what goes out, how you manage your money and what your relationship with money is like ensures that conversations about money don’t have to be uncomfortable.
  • Open a bank account – This will create a great sense of independence. Having the responsibility and trust to manage your own money, leads to better decision making about money. By having ownership of what comes in and out of their bank account, they will begin to understand the value of money.
  • Pay your way – Yes! You heard correctly, let your young person pay their way. Allowing your young person to have some sort of financial responsibilities from a young age means that they will have a better understanding of how to manage their money. It could be something as simple as being responsible for buying the milk in the house, or paying the Netflix subscription. This allows them to feel like they are contributing and ensures that they budget their income accordingly.
  • Teach the concept of saving money and budgeting – Having a budget and savings plan can help your young person to stay on top of their finances. Learning the art of budgeting and saving means that they will always be prepared for unplanned expenses or be able to save for things that they really want, such as a holiday or car.

By incorporating these theories into your young person’s everyday life, they will be on the right track to having a healthy relationship with money that will benefit them in their adult years.

We’ve also shared some more useful articles below:

Money money money!

A word that many of us find scary, even as adults. However, teaching a young person the importance of money management is a lesson that can benefit them hugely as they enter into adulthood.

Although the discussion of money is one that many tend to shy away from, it doesn’t have to be a scary conversation. We have compiled some money management tips for our foster carers that you can share with your young person to help them achieve financial success.

  • Transparency – Be open and honest when having conversations about money to normalise the discussion of money. Being less secretive about finances helps your young person learn about money. Understanding the concept of what comes in and what goes out, how you manage your money and what your relationship with money is like ensures that conversations about money don’t have to be uncomfortable.
  • Open a bank account – This will create a great sense of independence. Having the responsibility and trust to manage your own money, leads to better decision making about money. By having ownership of what comes in and out of their bank account, they will begin to understand the value of money.
  • Pay your way – Yes! You heard correctly, let your young person pay their way. Allowing your young person to have some sort of financial responsibilities from a young age means that they will have a better understanding of how to manage their money. It could be something as simple as being responsible for buying the milk in the house, or paying the Netflix subscription. This allows them to feel like they are contributing and ensures that they budget their income accordingly.
  • Teach the concept of saving money and budgeting – Having a budget and savings plan can help your young person to stay on top of their finances. Learning the art of budgeting and saving means that they will always be prepared for unplanned expenses or be able to save for things that they really want, such as a holiday or car.

By incorporating these theories into your young person’s everyday life, they will be on the right track to having a healthy relationship with money that will benefit them in their adult years.

We’ve also shared some more useful articles below:

Anti-bullying week

Anti Bullying

Let’s stamp out bullying!

Bullying, unfortunately, is something that many of us have faced or are even still facing today. And bullying is something that many children and young people face on a daily basis.

With the pace of life moving so rapidly, and new trends coming and going, it also means that bullying has taken on a new shape and form. No longer does bullying stop and start within the school gates, but more than ever we see bullying continuing once the school day is over due to the popular rise of the internet and social media. 

The internet has made it harder than ever for this generation to navigate through adolescence. There is never a moment where they truly get to switch off from technology, which opens the door for bullying to take place.

From comment sections, private messaging, public picture sharing, live video streaming and gaming forums there are so many outlets where children and young people can be exposed, leaving them more vulnerable to being bullied.

Anti Bullying Week aims to bring awareness to bullying, encouraging children, parents and teachers to take action against bullying throughout the year with this year’s theme celebrating differences and equality. 

So how can we help to stamp out bullying? What are some of the small everyday things we can all do to prevent bullying from beginning?

Firstly, look for the bully. Yes, this may sound like a weird request. But ever heard of the saying ‘Go straight to the source’? Giving attention and time to understand why someone may be bullying somebody is a great start to addressing the root of the problem. It is very common to want to condemn the bully and isolate them due to their bullying but if we actually talk to them  and understand the reasons why they may be lashing out, it could potentially remove the root of the issue.

Secondly, having an understanding of the apps and websites that your child uses daily is useful when being able to spot signs whether bullying may be taking place. By showing a genuine interest in what your child is interested in, they will become more willing to share just how these apps work and what they get up to on them. Some good leading questions would be “Do you talk to your school friends here?”, “How does the app/website/game work?” and  “Do you know everyone you speak to?”. If you notice that sometimes your child could be withdrawn after coming off their phone or computer, or lock themselves away in their room when coming home from school it may be a sign that they are experiencing cyberbullying.

Listen. It’s so important for a young person to feel like they are being heard, and acknowledged during a time like this. If somebody feels as if they are being bullied it should be investigated thoroughly and they should feel supported throughout.

Bullying is not something that we will be able to drive out overnight. But by highlighting that bullying does exist and not being afraid to talk about it allows us to start taking action earlier.

To find out more about Anti Bullying Week, click here

Everyone needs a helping hand

Connecting with young people in foster care

Connecting with young people in foster care

If you speak to some of the most successful people in the world, there is probably one thing that they all have in common – a mentor.

A mentor is someone that is able to guide you, advise you, teach you and support you in reaching your goals. These are the reasons why Ascent has a mentoring scheme in place for our looked after children and young people. As we mentioned in our previous blog, ‘it takes a village’ and having a neutral figure to encourage and empower young people in their personal development can have an abundance of benefits.

Here at Ascent, we see a mentor as someone who can focus solely on helping a young person’s development. A foster child usually has so many different adult figures in their life who serve different purposes and a mentor can be someone who can offer a safe, informal environment to let a young person share their goals and visions with, whilst taking part in fun activities.

Our Mentoring team closely works together with the young people to provide guidance and support. Helping with day-to-day life activities, such as exams, finding a first job, connecting with grassroots organisations within the community in South London and offering useful tips and advice to young people to help them succeed in life.

The Ascent mentoring team works as the gap between the young person and foster carer, allowing the young people to have their voices heard, the purpose of the relationship is to give them an outlet.

Want to meet our mentoring team, watch the video below.

Would you like to learn more about what it means to be a foster carer at Ascent. Click here.

It takes a village

“Creating a community in foster care”

There is an old African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Meaning that it takes more than a mother and father to ensure the well-rounded development of a child. Having an extended family and wider network is an important and well-needed contribution for giving a child the tools for life.

Here at Ascent Fostering, we understand how essential it is to provide a strong support network for a child in care. The absence of a conventional family dynamic due to circumstances out of their control should not deny them the opportunity of having their own ‘village’ to support them through their core formative years. We are proud to have cemented great working relationships with local authorities across South London such as Wandsworth and Lambeth council.

There are many benefits to having a ‘village’ that extends further than just the young person. Social workers, support workers, foster carers, supervisors, mentors, key workers all play a pivotal role in a child’s time within the care system and it is a huge benefit for a child if these key players all have positive relationships with one another. This creates:

  • One voice – open lines of communication between all agents means the child will receive the same message from all parties. It stops a young person from hearing several different viewpoints, ideologies and receiving differing advice which sometimes results in a negative effect.
  • Build strong networks and relationships – although everyone has separate objectives and roles, by working together closely you can create long-lasting working relationships that make your day-to-day work life run smoothly and more efficiently.
  • Unity – there is a huge stigma in the social care sector that there is a lack of unity between different agencies, making it difficult to give the best possible care and service to a child. Presenting a fortified unit ensures a child knows that their support system is solid, building trust and confidence in the young person.
  • Shared responsibility – there is sometimes the notion that one sole party should bear the brunt if anything was to go wrong with a child in the care system. By adopting the mindset of shared responsibility a child can see that their support network is like a family. Another additional benefit is that it allows parties to step in on behalf of one another, to ensure that any issues, concerns or serious incidents can be addressed directly without having to wait for the sole responsible party to step in.

All these elements working together create an excellent foundation for a young person. It shows them how all agencies are working together with their best interest at heart. Giving them the clear message that they have their own ‘village’, a unified network who wants to see them thrive and reach their full potential.

If you would like to learn more about fostering in South London, click here.

What is respite fostering?

We come across so many people who would love to foster children and young people, but many raise concerns about not being able to foster full-time. This could be for many reasons, such as their career or lifestyle that may restrict them from providing full-time foster care.

What is great about fostering placements is that it is designed to meet the individual needs and specific requirements of both foster carers and the children in their care. There are many different types of foster care, meaning there are many options available for you to find the right ‘fit’. 

What is respite fostering care?

Alongside long-term, short-term and emergency placements, there is respite care. Respite care is largely a short-term placement ranging from a weekend, school holidays or sometimes a few weeks. The main aim of respite care is to provide support and stability to a child that is currently placed with a foster family. 

The reason for respite care is to allow the original foster family, foster child or birth parents a break to rest and recharge. Respite fostering may also be needed if it’s not capable for a child to be included in the foster family’s travel plans.

Is respite foster care for me?

As mentioned earlier you may be somebody who wants to foster, but your current circumstances may not allow you to foster full-time. You may also be new to the profession and be slightly nervous about fostering and would like to build up some experience before committing to a longer-term placement. These are situations where becoming a respite foster carer could be more suitable for you.

Although as an independent agency we understand the need for stability to further the long-term development of foster children, we also understand the importance of parents and carers having access to a support network that can improve the quality of care being provided. Respite foster care allows you to enrich the lives of children and young people on a short term basis.

How do I become a respite foster carer?

To become a respite foster carer, the same fostering requirements still apply – must have a spare bedroom, be over the age of 21 and have some financial stability.

If you’re interested in respite foster care, or any other type of fostering, it’s definitely time to start your life-changing journey as a foster carer. Get in touch with us for an informal chat to learn more. 

Ascent in the Community: SLUKSWA Charity

Having community is what brings people together and unites them, but most importantly, having community means that you always have a helping hand.

We believe that it is important to build community wherever you go and at Ascent we want to be rooted in community. One great thing about community is that it can extend far and wide and you are able to reach people further than your doorstep.

We want to share our community with you, and so have created the ‘Ascent in the Community’ blog series. The aim of the series is to showcase our community and the amazing things that they do. It will be a window into some of the fantastic people, charities, businesses and schemes that Ascent are lucky to be connected to.

To begin the series, we have the Sierra Leone UK Social Workers Association (SLUKSWA). This is an organisation that our social worker, Remi is a part of and we had the opportunity to support them with their first project last Christmas.


Donations from the wider community were distributed to children and families who live in one of the most impoverished and deprived areas of Sierra Leone, West Africa.  They had experienced flash flooding which caused the destruction of homes, loss of personal belongings and claimed lives. Bags of rice, along with the numerous toys, clothes, kitchenware, bedding and other items were received with great appreciation by a number of children and elders that had been hard hit by the flooding in the Kroo Bay area of Freetown, Sierra Leone.


The densely populated slum area of Kroo Bay is located at the bottom of a hilly part of Freetown and houses some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of Freetown’s society. We reached out to our network to collect donations and the response we received was overwhelming.

It was a pleasure to hear from SLUKSWA:

“On behalf of SLUKSWA, I wish to say a very big thank you for the donations received from yourselves. They were far greater than expected and no doubt will have provided some relief to those in receipt.  Once again, many thanks for your contribution to a worthy cause and for giving selflessly.“


If you would like to learn more about the Sierra Leone UK Social Workers Association or see how you can support them with their fantastic work. Please get in touch by emailing: secretary.slukswa@gmail.com.

To find out more about Ascent Fostering and becoming a foster carer with us, get in touch with our friendly team today.

Ascent 7th Birthday

Earlier this year we celebrated our 7th birthday! And although we had to adjust the way we celebrated due to our current circumstances we still made sure that the whole Ascent family was still able to mark this milestone.

Ascent first launched in April 2013, founded by Mark Pomell and Mark Hobbs with the goal for Ascent Fostering Agency to be the leading therapeutic fostering agency in London in-terms of the quality of support, care and outcomes for the young people we look after. To offer foster carers the opportunity to be part of a genuine team, that is committed to learning and developing our skills together.

Over the last 7 years, we have reached some major milestones; receiving fantastic Ofsted reports, winning several awards, seeing our team grow and expand, working with outstanding foster carers, and seeing how our carers have impacted the lives of so many children and young people.

We would have never thought that at the beginning of this journey we would be where we are now and have so many people to thank for helping us get here.

Since 2013 we have;

  • Increased our team of staff from 3 to 11.
  • Held over 500 training sessions.
  • Looked after 158 children and young people.
  • We began with 4 carers and now have over 30.
  • Been a finalist in the Investors in People Gold – Award of the Year for Small Companies in the UK 2018.
  • Awarded an Investors in People in 2015.
  • 3 Ofsted inspections
  • Received the award for Resilience and Placement Stability to Children from Wandsworth Local Authority.

Check out the special video we created especially for our birthday.

We can’t wait to see what the next 7 years hold, cheers to many more!

Love Ascent

To find out more about fostering with us, get in touch with one of our friendly team today. 

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