From snowmen falling in love to a clumsy dragon who loves Christmas, the John Lewis Christmas ads are probably the only adverts that we look forward to watching. Using cute animals, animation and special effects has been the approach for several years now, however this year is different. It’s very much real. It’s about children in care.
Working in partnership with Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, the advert focuses on an ordinary, middle-aged man who seems to be on a mission to learn how to skateboard. His wife supports him with a smile, despite all the bumps, bruises and broken arms. It’s only at the end of the advert when the doorbell rings that the reason behind his efforts is revealed. There, clutching her skateboard nervously, is the couple’s new foster daughter with her social worker.
It feels right, now more than ever, to raise awareness for the 108,000+ vulnerable children who are in the UK care system. The number is increasing year on year, but sadly the number of foster families isn’t. We need to change this.
Every single child deserves to experience the magic of Christmas in a loving, safe home. In fact, every single child deserves to experience a loving, safe home, full stop. From the security of a stable family to learning how to heal from their past trauma, foster parents can make the biggest difference to a young person’s life. The new advert portrays this perfectly. The dad shows genuine interest in the girl’s hobby and goes out of his way to build a bond and connection. The majority of the children that come into our care haven’t felt loved, wanted or listened to, so the love a foster family shows from the very start goes a long way in helping them feel a sense of belonging.
While fostering is never all sunshine and rainbows, it’s a truly rewarding and, dare we say it, heroic job. Children in care are often met with negative stereotypes, such as bad behaviour, poor education, trouble with the law and a lack of ambition. This can be true for a lot of looked-after children, as their unstable starts to life and traumatic experiences can send them down the wrong paths. But at FCA, our amazing foster parents are helping to #ChangeTheStory, and we’ve seen many care leavers achieve incredible things, such as going to university, becoming a foster carer themselves or completely turning their lives around. That’s why it’s fantastic to see such a huge brand like John Lewis also invest in the lives of looked-after children. Their Building Happier Futures programme is part of the partnership’s plans to become the biggest national employer of people formerly in care, giving care leavers the opportunity to build a successful career.
We really hope the powerful message of this new John Lewis Christmas advert sparks conversations in households, offices and amongst friends. Giving a gift is one thing, but giving a vulnerable child the chance of a better future is everything.
If you’d like to know a bit more about fostering a child and what’s involved, please get in touch. Our friendly fostering advisors will get back to you for an informal chat where they’ll answer any questions you have. As long as you’re 21 or over, have the right to live and work in the UK and have a spare bedroom, you could help transform a child’s life forever.
Don’t fancy a phone call just yet? Download our free Beginner’s Guide to Fostering a Child and discover everything you need to know about becoming a foster parent. Or come along to one of our fostering information events to discover more about the rewarding role of a foster parent.
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