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.

Derby City 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).

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.

Pulling together to save on costs and boost foster carer numbers.

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. 

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. Calculated from average enquiry-to-approval statistics (based on monthly benchmarking data gathered from council fostering teams across the UK), these enquiries could result in 21 new foster carers over the next 12 months, saving the UK’s council fostering community £394,000 on placement fees with Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs).

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.

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

"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 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.

Watch “Any of Us” film on Derby City Council YouTube.

Councillor John Whitby, Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, Learning and Skills, said:

As a Council, we're honoured to have been part of the 'Any of Us' film project, recognised with prestigious awards for 'Best Collaboration' and 'Best Creative Comms' at the comms2point0 UnAwards. This initiative, a joint effort involving over 80 fostering teams across the UK, embodies the power of unity and creativity in addressing the critical need for foster carers.

The film's impact speaks volumes: 249 enquiries in the first month alone, potentially yielding 21 new foster carers within a year, saving nearly £400,000 in placement fees. It underscores the profound impact achievable through collective action, reminding us that each of us holds the capacity to make a life-changing difference.
That message is the same, from London to the Lake District – every town, city and county – consider if you can offer a home to our most vulnerable children and young people.

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.

For more information on fostering visit the Derby City Council Fostering web page. There will also be a fostering information event held at the Council House on Tuesday 27 February, 6.30pm to 8pm, find out more on the fostering event web page.