Recent News

  • 08th November 2017

    Get into the festive spirit with PACT!

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) will be holding its annual Christmas Carol Concert at Dorchester Abbey on Sunday 10th December.Local families are welcome to attend the concert, which will feature festive readings and performances from talented singers including The Dorchester Abbey Choir. There will also be plenty of opportunities for the congregation to join in with some classic Christmas carols. The concert will start at 5pm, with light refreshments served from 4pm. It is free to attend but booking is essential via www.pactcharity.org/carols PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said:"I always look forward to this wonderfully festive event in the beautiful Dorchester Abbey - it really is one of the highlights of the year at PACT. All are welcome so please do come along and help us celebrate family life this Christmas." And with Christmas coming, PACT is encouraging people to support its work building and strengthening families through a number of festive fundraising initiatives. Supporters can once again buy Christmas cards in aid of PACT. These can be ordered via www.pactcharity.org/christmas-cards PACT is also appealing for people to take part in this year's Reading Charity Santa Run on Sunday 3rd December on its behalf. To find out more or to enter see www.readingsantarun.co.uk, and for help and advice on how to raise sponsorship for PACT please email fundraising@pactcharity.orgOr for a less energetic way to support PACT this Christmas why not wear your best seasonal sweater in aid of the adoption charity? PACT will be holding its Christmas Jumper Day on Tuesday 12th December and is inviting local offices, schools and churches to join in with this. To find out more on how to get involved please contact fundraising@pactcharity.org

  • 19th October 2017

    PACT launches new online adoption support service

    THIS National Adoption Week, Parents And Children Together (PACT) is launching an innovative new online support service for adoptive families - www.pactadoptionsupport.orgThe adoption charity, which supports families across the south east and beyond through outstanding adoption services, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, has developed the new online service to empower adoptive parents to help each other and access training and support.Initially being piloted with a cohort of PACT families, the new service features an online adopters' forum, one-to-one peer support via webchat, an eLearning course on attachment issues and a programme of webinars. The pilot is due for completion at the end of March 2018, when the service will be rolled out more widely.Funded by a grant from the Department for Education, PACT has worked closely with adopters to ensure the support service meets the needs of adoptive families. The charity has plans to enhance the online support through the addition of more eLearning courses as well as expanding the webinar programme.PACT, which last year placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoptive services, is launching its new pilot service during National Adoption Week, an annual national week of awareness raising organised by First 4 Adoption, which runs from 16 to 22 October. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England, and National Adoption Week is aiming to highlight the need to find families for these vulnerable children.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said: "At PACT we are dedicated to supporting our families through the lifetime of their adoption journeys, and this new service is a really innovative way in which we can extend our support in a way that families can easily access whenever they need it. We are all very excited to be launching this pilot project to PACT families this week, and it is particularly apt that we are doing this as we mark National Adoption Week and appeal for more people to start their adoption journey with us."PACT Director of Business Development Natausha van Vliet said: "We are so pleased to be able to respond directly to the growing demand for more accessible support for adopters. Developing a digital response to this need is exciting for PACT and opens up a new way of working, as well as the opportunity to help so many more adopters. Developing these tools in alignment with adopters has been vital, listening to them and ensuring their needs are the focus, and PACT's ongoing relationship with adopters continues to flourish."To find out more about adopting with PACT visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800.

  • 11th October 2017

    PACT supports National Adoption Week

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is supporting a national campaign appealing for more people to consider adopting brothers and sisters in groups of two or more.PACT, which last year placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoption services, is taking part in the annual National Adoption Week which runs from 16th to 22nd October.This year the campaign, organised by First 4 Adoption, is focusing on the need to find the right adopters for sibling groups. New figures released by First 4 Adoption reveal that 59 per cent of the children in the South East waiting for adoptive families are brothers and sisters in groups of two or more.PACT is supporting the national campaign by renewing its call for adopters who can adopt a sibling group of two or more children to enable brothers and sisters to stay together.Harry and his wife Claire adopted three siblings, all under four years old, through PACT in 2016. He said:"To adopt a sibling group of three has been the toughest and single most rewarding thing my wife and I have done. Our children have been kept together which in turn has helped with their transition to our family whilst also helping to keep their identity."Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, who has been shortlisted as a finalist in The Gareth Marr Award for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s National Adoption Week Awards, said she was delighted the agency was again supporting the national week of awareness-raising and she was particularly pleased it was focusing on the need for more adopters for siblings.She said: "At PACT we are always looking for people who could parent siblings as these children often face the longest wait for their forever family. Finding adopters with the skills and space for two or more children is crucial so that brothers and sisters, who have often had an unsettled enough start to their life, can stay together with their adoptive parents."Our teams are well-experienced at matching and placing sibling groups and in supporting these families. I would encourage anyone who could consider adopting a sibling group of two or more children to get in touch with us and find out more about what is involved. "As part of its support for National Adoption Week, staff from PACT will also be manning an information stand in Reading town centre on Thursday 19th October where people can find out more about the agency’s adoption services."To find out more about adopting with PACT visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800.

  • 02nd October 2017

    Can you hold a Pizza Party for PACT?

    PARENTS And Children Together (PACT) is encouraging people to support its work by holding a fundraising Pizza Party for PACT this month.The adoption charity, which supports families across the south east and beyond through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, launched its new campaign by hosting its own Pizza Party for staff at each of its offices in Reading, London and Brighton, and is now appealing for supporters to enjoy a slice of the action!To take part all you need to do is invite your family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, either make your own pizza or order some in, and then ask your guests to make a donation to PACT. The charity is asking for people to host their parties during October ideally, but if this is not possible, any time is fine.Fundraising Manager Laura Davison said: “Your party doesn’t need to be large and shouldn’t be too complicated or require a lot of time, resources or money – it should just be a fun and easy way to get together with friends, enjoy some yummy food and help raise funds for a great cause.“There is lots of information about how you can get involved on our website, including party invites, posters and bunting plus recipe ideas and a Pizza Party sweepstake game. Please do get in touch if you have any questions, and we’d love to hear how your parties go!”PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE added: “I think this is a really great way for families, friends, neighbours and colleagues to get together and raise funds for our vital work. Every single party will make a difference by enabling us to reach out and support more vulnerable children and families.”To find out more see www.pactcharity.org/pizza or if you have any questions or would like to request a fundraising pack please email fundraising@pactcharity.org

  • 28th September 2017

    PACT statement on Adoption UK/BBC Survey

    Adoption changes the lives of hundreds of people every year and provides stability and security for some of society’s most vulnerable children. The survey carried out by Adoption UK and the BBC found that nine out of 10 adopters said they were glad they adopted. Media reports about the survey also highlighted that many adoptive families are living with difficult issues including violent behaviour. PACT recognises that alongside the joys of adopting there are sometimes challenges. When children have experienced trauma in their early lives before being adopted there is always a risk that this may impact their behaviour later on.PACT prides itself on its adoption support services, including its award-winning therapeutic support service FACTS, to help its families prepare for adoption and for life afterwards.PACT offers a comprehensive training programme for adopters and has therapeutically trained social workers on hand to support families, including those dealing with complex behaviour and violence. PACT is about to launch its innovative Online Adoption Support Service which includes e-learning, one-to-one live peer support, adopter forums and webinars. We hope this offers adoptive families even more vital support when they need it. PACT welcomes the government’s commitment to adoption support, including the Adoption Support Fund, which provides funding for therapeutic support.

  • 31st August 2017

    PACT holds special event for prospective adopters

    PACT is holding a special event in Reading for anyone interested in finding out more about adoption.The agency is inviting anyone considering adoption to come along to the event on Saturday 9th September at which a panel of PACT adopters will be sharing their adoption stories and answering questions about their experiences of adoption.There will also be opportunities for people to talk individually with experienced adopters and PACT social workers as well as to meet other prospective adopters over refreshments.PACT supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects. Last year PACT placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoption services. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more children, children with a black or minority ethnic background and children who may have physical or learning disabilities. PACT is also keen to hear from people interested in its Foster for Adoption initiative. This involves babies and young children being placed with potential adopters under a temporary fostering arrangement while decisions are made through the family court process about the child’s future.Karen and Charmaine, who have two adopted daughters, the youngest of whom they adopted through PACT last year, are among the adopters taking part in the panel.Karen said: “Adoption really has shaped my life. It is without doubt, the most incredible journey I have ever been on and my wife and I now have the most beautiful life with our two adopted daughters.“The events PACT run to find out more can be the start of an exciting and rewarding adventure. It's a chance to meet others thinking about adopting, as well as hear from people like me and my wife about what it's all about. It can be a very reassuring opportunity to ask all those questions you have been thinking about and find out the next step so do come along if you can.” PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick added: “This event is an ideal opportunity for anyone considering adoption to find out what this is really like from people who have already done this. If you are at all interested in starting or extending your family through adoption please do come along to hear from and speak to some of our inspirational families and expert staff to help work out if this is right for you.”The event will be held at PACT’s office on South Street, Reading from 10am until midday. It will start with a brief presentation about the adoption process followed by the question and answer session with the panel of adopters. It is free to attend, but people will need to book a place by calling 0300 456 4800 or emailing enquiries@pactcharity.org PACT is also holding an adoption information evening in London on Thursday 21st September from 6.30pm until 8pm, and an adoption drop-in session in Brighton on Friday 22nd September from 11am until 2pm.  To find out about these events, or for more information about PACT and its adoption services, please visit www.pactcharity.org, call 0300 456 4800 or email enquiries@pactcharity.org 

  • 27th July 2017

    Brighton adopters needed!

    PACT is calling for prospective parents in the Brighton area to find out more about adoption. PACT offers outstanding adoption services to families across the South East, last year placing 87 children with 62 families. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England. PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more children, children with a black or minority ethnic background and those who may have physical or learning disabilities. The agency’s office in central Brighton is holding a series of events this month and next to encourage people in the area to consider adoption. As part of this awareness-raising PACT will be taking part in Brighton Pride on Saturday 5 August and will have a stand in Preston Park from midday where social workers will be on hand to chat to anyone interested in adoption. The Brighton office, which specialises in LGBT adoption but also welcomes heterosexual adopters, is also holding an information evening in Brighton on Wednesday 23 August from 6.30pm until 8pm at which people can find out more about the process of adoption and hear from people who have adopted through PACT.People can also find out more at an adoption drop-in session on Friday 22 September from 11am until 2pm at the Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton.Mark and Laurence adopted a sister and brother, aged eight and six, through PACT last year. The couple, who live in the Brighton area, said they chose to adopt through PACT because of the support and training it offered before, during and post adoption and because of the agency’s experience of placing children with LGBT adopters. They said: “Life with our children is fantastic! After 18 months, as we look back on past photographs and videos it is amazing to see the progress that they have made in all aspects of their lives and how we as a couple have strengthened our relationship together. We no longer have quiet lives, lie-ins or nights out clubbing, but this has been replaced with our beautiful family and all the experiences that go with that, such as attending their nativities, Christmas celebrations, family holidays, putting teeth out for the tooth fairy, hosting birthday parties and many more.“We couldn’t imagine our lives without children now and it all started with an initial enquiry with PACT. This has been an amazing journey for us and if it is something that you are considering, when the time is right for you, PACT will be there to hold your hand throughout every stage.”PACT’s Chief Executive Jan Fishwick added: “The events coming up in Brighton are an ideal opportunity for anyone in the area who is thinking about adoption as a way of starting or extending their family to find out more. Our teams at these events will be very happy to answer any questions you have and to explain the services and support that we can offer to people who would like to give a secure and loving home to a child in care.”For further information, or to book a place at the information evening, call 0300 456 4800 (lines are open 10am-3pm Monday to Friday) or email enquiries@pactcharity.org. You can also find out more about PACT, and download a guide to adoption, at www.pactcharity.org  

  • 30th June 2017

    Alana House visited by award-winning fashion designer Patrick Grant

    AWARD-winning British fashion designer Patrick Grant visited Alana House women’s community project in Reading on Friday (30 June) to meet women who have been learning to sew.The women have been involved in an initiative called Out Of The Box making craft items for sale, which has been running at Alana House in partnership with offender support organisation New Leaf, for almost a year. Many of the women taking part have also been learning to sew at another weekly session offered at Alana House, a women’s community project run by Parents And Children Together (PACT) to support vulnerable women.Patrick, also known for his starring role as a judge of BBC2 show The Great British Sewing Bee, chatted with some of the women and was shown items they had made to sell, which include clothing, jewellery, tote bags, knitted items and woodwork. Patrick was visiting in his role as Founder and Creative Director of social enterprise Community Clothing, which supports skills development, job creation and regeneration in communities that rely on the textile and garment manufacturing industries. He was accompanied by Community Clothing CEO Lucy Clayton.He was interested in New Leaf and Alana House’s work with vulnerable women and was keen to meet some of the women who had been taking part in the Out Of The Box project. He was also shown around Alana House and told about the wider work of the centre. Last year 190 women accessed Alana House in Reading and its satellite service in West Berkshire, for groups, courses, drop-in sessions and one-to-one support. Patrick said: “Community Clothing aims to make really good quality, affordable clothing in British factories during their quiet periods. Fashion is really seasonal and factories have loads of spare capacity. This is a way to bring prosperity back to UK factories.“We are also trying to do everything we can to encourage people back into clothing-making and there are opportunities for some of the work to be done outside factories. We are investigating anywhere where people are sewing where there may be opportunities to make it a commercial, viable thing and people can make a living out of it.”Natausha van Vliet, Director of Business Development at PACT, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for the women who have worked so hard on this project to be inspired and enthused by meeting Patrick. It was also a fantastic opportunity to showcase to him the fantastic work that is going on at Alana House and the many ways in which we are empowering vulnerable women into making positive life changes by helping them to develop new skills and build their esteem and self-confidence.”Alana House, which celebrated its seventh birthday earlier this year, was awarded The Howard League for Penal Reform Award in the Community Programme for Women category in 2014.To find out more about Alana House and its programme of activities, which include weekly drop-in sessions, see www.alanahouse.org or call 0118 9217640. 

  • 16th June 2017

    OBE for PACT’s Chief Executive Jan Fishwick

    PACT is delighted to announce that its Chief Executive Jan Fishwick has been awarded an OBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.Jan, who has worked in social care for more than 40 years, becoming a respected leader and advocate in the field of children and families, has been recognised for her service to children and her dedication to the public and voluntary sector. Over the course of her career she has helped achieve great outcomes for thousands of vulnerable children and families, both locally and nationally.Jan has been Chief Executive at PACT since 2008, during which time the organisation has developed from a small adoption and fostering team to one of the largest voluntary adoption agencies in the UK. During her time at the helm 762 children have been placed with their forever family. Earlier this year the agency was again rated as outstanding following an Ofsted inspection, retaining the top rating it was first awarded in 2014.A courageous and collaborative innovator, Jan has also helped advise and influence government policy on radical reform of adoption services through her work for the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and as a member of the Adoption Leadership Boards in both London and the South East.Jan, who lives outside High Wycombe, said she was “humbled and delighted” to receive the honour in recognition of her work.She said: “Notification of the award came as a great surprise to me as much of the work that PACT and CVAA undertake involves extensive team working and collaboration.“Having worked in the rewarding world of social care for more than 40 years, I have considerable respect for my dedicated colleagues and for the beneficiaries we serve. I have always promoted focusing our team efforts on improving the life chances of children and families, and I am very proud of what we have helped achieve.”Jan’s career in social work began in 1975 as Deputy Matron of a 12-bed children’s home where she first gained an understanding of the need for early intervention for families and also encountered children waiting for adoptive families. Before joining PACT, she worked in several local authorities at senior levels.Through her work at PACT she has helped bring stability to countless children and families through adoption, adoption support and via its community projects. Her innovative thinking led to the launch of PACT’s unique Dual Approval scheme where parents were simultaneously approved to adopt and foster, and she was an influential supporter of the Home for Good campaign, a project reaching out to Christians to encourage them to adopt, with PACT taking part in the pilot scheme.Jan was also a crucial part of the steering group that brought in the innovative adoption scheme It’s All About Me (IAAM), which uses social impact bonds to fund targeted family-finding for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.She also led the development of PACT’s specialist services into its Family and Children Therapeutic Support (FACTS) service, which was voted “Voluntary Adoption Service of the Year” in the BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2013.It was under her leadership that PACT also broadened its remit to support people in the community through projects including Bounce Back 4 Kids (BB4K), which was launched in 2010 to support children and adults affected by domestic abuse, and Alana House, supporting vulnerable women. In 2014 Alana House won an award from the Howard League for Penal Reform in the Community Programme for Women category.Ray Shostak CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CVAA, which Jan has been a board member of since 2009, and which she chaired from 2012 to 2014, said she justly deserved recognition for her contribution to the lives of thousands of young people and families, both locally and nationally, throughout her career. “She gives generously her time to both the work of the board and in supporting colleagues as a respected leader within the field. She strives to collaborate, respects the views and opinions of others and is always ready to find solutions. She is a truly remarkable professional and leader.”Jim Brown, Chairman of PACT’s Executive Board, added: “The trustees and staff at PACT are so pleased to hear about this award. Jan is an inspirational leader who has guided PACT successfully for the past nine years. The wider adoption sector has also benefitted greatly from Jan’s drive and direction over many years. However, this recognition is much about Jan the individual, a caring and humane person, an excellent professional with a passionate belief in helping families and children.”  

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