Give the gift of home this Christmas

A festive campaign encouraging Reading people to consider giving the gift of home to a vulnerable child has been launched by Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) this week.

The 12 Days of Christmas social media campaign highlights the fact that individuals or families could be fostering a child and giving them a stable, safe, loving home next Christmas if they enquire now.

Each day the campaign will be focusing on a different aspect of fostering, such as the attributes you need, the benefits of having a foster child in your life and busting some fostering myths.

The campaign on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn started on Tuesday 13 December and will run until Christmas Eve.

Di Smith, Board Chair of BFfC, said: “Christmas is a time for giving and I cannot think of many better gifts than providing a vulnerable child or young person with a safe, loving home.

“Friends and family are particularly in our thoughts at this time of year but sadly there are children who will not be experiencing the magic and joy of Christmas they deserve.

“We need more foster carers in Reading to ensure vulnerable Reading children can stay close to their families and friends. If you enquire about fostering with us now, you could be giving a child or young person their best ever Christmas next year.”

BFfC’s Fostering service is an Ofsted rated ‘Good’ provider which operates as a not-for-profit agency on behalf of Reading Borough Council.

Please visit:, email: or phone: 0118 469 3020 for more information about fostering.

Appointment of new, permanent Director of Children’s Services for Reading

Reading Borough Council & Brighter Futures for Children press release

Reading Borough Council (RBC) and Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) are delighted to announce the appointment of Lara Patel as the new, permanent Director of Children’s Services (DCS) for Reading.

Lara, who has more than 25 years’ experience working across local authority and voluntary sector children’s services, joins us from her current role as Deputy Director of Children’s Services for Oxfordshire County Council.

Lara will spend 20% of her time with her primary employer – Reading Borough Council – and 80% with Brighter Futures for Children - the children’s service alternative delivery model company, owned by RBC but independent of it. She will sit on the senior leadership teams of both and will also be an executive member of the BFfC Board.

The DCS role is a statutory appointment and Lara replaces Deborah Glassbrook, who was appointed in October 2019 and retired in June this year. BFfC’s Director of Education, Brian Grady, has stepped up as interim DCS while the new appointment process was under way.

Lara has led the delivery of a wide range of strategic and operational children’s services at local, regional and national levels, for both local authorities and The Children’s Society. She has also held positions as both a Board Director and a Trustee.

“We are delighted that Lara will be joining us as the new DCS for Reading,’ said Di Smith, Executive Director and Board Chair for BFfC.

“Lara has significant experience of leading change, working in partnership with staff and partners and a solid track record of developing strong collaborative partnerships, internally and externally.”

Leader of Reading Borough Council Cllr Jason Brock said: “We have been fortunate to find a new Director of Children’s Services with Lara’s experience, in-depth knowledge of children’s social care and passion for improving the delivery of children’s services in Reading.

“During these challenging times it is more important than ever that good quality services are provided to children, young people and their families in Reading. I look forward to welcoming Lara as she takes the lead in this vital role.”

Lara will be joining the teams at Reading Borough Council and Brighter Futures for Children early in the new year.