The Nottingham based non-profit charity ‘MyBag’ provides every child who enters foster care with a practical bag of comfort items, as opposed to moving their processions in a bin liner.
Stuart Ferguson and Nicola Barber created the charity five and a half years ago, along with trusted friends Steph Mallory and Oliver Rolling who are also Nottinghamshire born.
The father daughter, who have both been Nottingham City Council approved Foster Carers since 2010 are mostly funded by ‘AmazonSmile’.
The online marketplace is a simple and automatic way to support a charity of your choice every time you shop and is the same as regular Amazon but with the bonus that it donates a portion of the purchase price to your selected charity.
Stuart, 56, said: “Our ultimate aim is to maintain a child’s self-esteem when going through such difficult times, but making this amazing impact on so many children in Nottingham would not be possible without the funding of various organisations.
“The co-op have also recently taken us on board as a local charity again which has really helped but the best way to help us, is AmazonSmile which we urge everyone to shop with, especially this Christmas.”
Loved having my super little helper to deliver the My Bags this week. I’m so proud of the quality we provide in our bags for children entering foster care in @MyNottingham and @nottslive #ourcityyoursupportmybag pic.twitter.com/4D38rRlTaS
— MyBag (@MyBagCharity) October 3, 2020
Having seen It first hand, Stuart and Nicola understand better than anyone the trauma that children experience turning up to unfamiliar doorsteps empty handed, having few or no personal belongings with them.
Mrs Barber, 30, said: “We raise money very well; I believe we make our money go very far and despite providing for exclusively for Nottinghamshire, it means we can put all our energy into the bags for Nottingham.”
Care leaver, Gemma Anderson who was in care in Nottingham from the ages of 12-16 said: “With the average foster care placement lasting 18 months, children in the system often become used to never having a permanent home or many belongings, this charity is the start of something amazing.”
Stuart from MyBag said: “We supply three types of bags – infant, primary and secondary but all bags are a large, gender neutral holdall or backpack stuffed with a teddy bear, a blanket, a colouring or notebook, crayons, and also a large drawstring bag for any personal possessions they may have.”
As the festive period looms it can prove particularly hard for children in care, whether that’s because it brings up bad memories of Christmases past or highlights that they are not with their own family.
Both Stuart and Nicola urge anyone who is buying gifts this Christmas to use ‘AmazonSmile’ as it will play a massive role in helping ‘MyBag’ and other charities to meet their demand.
” children are moved with their life belongings in a bin bag, with few possessions but we want to make children feel like they belong.”
stuart ferguson, founder of ‘MyBAG’
Stuart added: “In many ways we are unlike other charities, we provide the contents of the bag, before anything happens which is very helpful for the social worker as the items in the bag can help pass time.”
Foster children often find themselves forgotten and neglected by the public, but this pioneering local charity wants to ease the traumatic experience of entering foster care for every child.
Each year 32,000 children enter foster care, of these nearly 600 live in Nottingham, that’s one child every 17 hours entering the foster system in Nottinghamshire alone.
More information about MyBag is available at www.mybagcharity.co.uk, including how to get in touch to make a donation. If you would like to find out more about fostering with Nottingham City Council, visit www.fosteringnottingham.com