A Worcestershire-based fostering agency will be hosting virtual Santa visits to bring festive cheer to foster children who may not make it to his grotto this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many children won’t have the opportunity to visit Santa in the normal way this Christmas, so Fostering People is using a little magic to bring him to their screens.

Santa will be live from his grotto via Microsoft teams from 21st – 23rd December and will be using his special magic to give every child a gift, just as they would receive from a grotto visit.

To make the experience a little more fun for all the children involved, foster parents have been asked to hide the gift in their homes for children to find.

Fostering People’s Team Manager, Mark Briggs, is conscious that children in care have already been greatly affected by the pandemic and did not want them to miss out on the much-loved Christmas tradition as well.

Mark, who has rolled out the initiative at Fostering People, and will also be donning Santa’s infamous red suit for the event, said: "The current COVID-19 restrictions will prevent many children from visiting Santa in his grotto this year, so we’ve done the next best thing and brought Santa into their homes, virtually.”

Children are usually so excited about Christmas but this year there is also a great deal of trepidation too.

Foster parents have reported children are asking them ‘will Santa be able to come this year because of COVID-19?’ due to the restrictions in place.

Mark added: “I am hoping that a virtual visit from Santa Claus will help to reassure children that he will be visiting them on Christmas Eve; and a gift will have been hidden around the house by their foster parents for children to find that has come from Santa, to help prove that he can indeed make it!

“This has been an exceptionally challenging year and the routines that children usually thrive on have been continuously disturbed. But the vast majority of children have managed it brilliantly and this is Santa’s little way of saying thank you to them.”

Fostering People has continuously supported foster parents 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and 365 days a year for the past 20 years.

Rated Outstanding in all areas, Fostering People aspire to replicate their years of support ensuring they provide the best possible care for their foster parents and the children they foster.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Fostering People has adapted to provide virtual support to their existing and prospective foster parents with home visits and assessments now being conducted virtually.

For more information about becoming a foster parent, visit https://www.fosteringpeople.co.uk/ for more information.