December Missive from the Directors
‘Tis the Season
As the leaves have dropped from the trees; the weather has turned colder; familiar tunes emanate from radios and shops wherever we go; we reach that point in the year where we look back at the old year as its final embers fade away and look forward to the excitement of the new.... And what a year.
For us, the biggest thing is the birth of the Hazel Project. This new venture, if we get it right, will be the culmination of many lifetimes’ work. Whenever I look around a room of DC or Xcel people and start to estimate the years of experience contained therein, I am confident that we have the right team to drive Hazel Project to be the most successful organisation to deliver services to fostering families in the history of the industry. My mother used to say, “some people have 20 years experience and some people have 1 year of experience 20 times over” - I am sure we have the former - people who are thoughtful, intelligent and reflective of all the experiences they have had in the world of fostering; and therefore our team has the ability to innovate and consistently apply lessons learned to improve services.
The philosophy of the Hazel Project was born out of the frustration of seeing some of the National Fostering Agencies having such a loud voice, to the point where some of the sub-standard practice we have seen was becoming the norm - and we are running the risk that when the new legislation is drafted over the next few years that these behemoths would be the ones consulted and listened to - not the beacons of excellence that many smaller organisations offer - with years of innovative, outstanding practice - an evidenced history of improving children’s lives.
So now we pivot the frustration and turn that into positivity: the Hazel Project is a real tangible thing. As of August the 29th - two companies began the process of merging to be the front line of the service that HP offer. There may be one or two other companies joining us in the coming years, and we will be very careful about which companies we choose to partner up with - as there is no way we will ever compromise on quality. In addition to the outstanding fostering service, HP will have several other strings to its bow. We will consider any angle that we think will be of benefit to Foster Parents and therefore the children they look after. So, the health and safety standards pioneered by us will be a sister company under the HP umbrella, as will a technology company providing several different applications to children and families (for example our leaving care programme). There will be other angles we will consider and all of them will be analysed by Oxford University as part of our collaboration with the University over the next four years
We are constantly stunned by our families’ resilience and ability to deal with the constant change that they have chosen to accept as part of ‘normal life’ in the world of a Foster Family. This quality will stand you all in good stead as we really start to develop the service delivery, combining the best bits of DC and Xcel to create a truly astounding organisation obsessed with improving the lives of our children.
As you celebrate the season in whichever way you enjoy; singing, seeing family, large meals or quiet contemplation late at night with a mug of hot chocolate - please take some time to celebrate the personal successes that you will have all had this year and think how those successes spur us on to continue to be as amazing as we are.
Have a peaceful season
Keith, Paul and Tracey