Stoke City FC becomes first Fostering Friendly football club in the UK


Stoke City FC has today become the first Fostering Friendly football club in the UK.

The Potters and bet365, who combined employ more than 4,000 staff in Stoke, have joined The Fostering Network’s Fostering Friendly employer initiative.

The accreditation aims to make a real difference to children and young people’s lives through implementing fostering friendly HR policies such as offering foster carers flexible working or paid time off for child care training, fostering-related meetings, or settling a new child into their home.

Every 20 minutes a child comes into care needing a foster family in the UK. Foster families provide the support, stability and care that every child needs, in a safe, loving environment.

Nearly 40 per cent of foster carers combine fostering with work and those who do – or want to become foster carers – say that a supportive employer can make all the difference.

Stoke City FC chief executive Tony Scholes said: 'We understand the vital role that foster carers play in the lives of children and young people, many of whom will be some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

'We are delighted to have joined the Fostering Friendly initiative with bet365 and look forward to helping foster carers, as well as potential foster carers, among our staff to fulfil such a rewarding and important role in society.

The Club have also pledged to support the fostering service in the city by offering traineeships and job opportunities to both looked after children and foster carers’ birth children in the city.'

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: 'We are delighted Stoke City FC and bet365 have joined our Fostering Friendly employers scheme.

'Nearly 40 per cent of foster carers balance employment with their vital role looking after children and young people. Those who do, say that a supportive employer can make all the difference.

'Our scheme offers businesses of any size a chance to make a difference for foster carers and the children they care for in their local communities and improve support for their own employees at the same time.'

Bob Munro, group chief human resources officer for bet365, commented: 'We are delighted as a Group to be supporting this vitally important initiative, which further cements our commitment to the community within which we operate.'

Adam Walker, a foster carer for Stoke-on-Trent city council and a lifelong Potters fan, said: 'I have been a supporter of Stoke City since I was a young lad so it’s great to see them working in partnership with the City Council on fostering.

'We became foster carers in February this year and haven’t looked back since! Our children are now grown-up so we decided it was the right time in our lives to take on this new journey and make a positive impact. I resigned from my full-time role working for the NHS to commit completely and so far fostering has been nothing but rewarding. The fostering team have been great and supportive.'

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, added: 'We’re proud to be a Fostering Friendly council and are thrilled that Stoke City FC and bet365 have now joined the initiative. Last year Unitas joined the scheme, so it is great another two organisations based in the city have come on-board. 

'Fostering requires a high level of commitment; therefore employers offering the carers among its staff greater flexibility and time off to support them on their foster carer journey for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is fantastic.

'Foster carers play a vital role and it's important that employers give them the assistance they need. We hope that this will motivate other local organisations to join our Fostering Friendly ethos.'

Find out more about the Fostering Friendly scheme here.