Helping you recruit foster carers and adoptive parents

About me

Emma HardingHi. I’m Emma Harding

Based in Yorkshire, I’m a:

  • project manager
  • copywriter
  • and marketing and communications professional

with over 14 years’ experience helping organisations recruit foster carers and adopters.

If you’re struggling to recruit the carers you need, contact me.

 

In many ways, I’ve been helping organisations support children in care all my working life.

Over 20 years ago, I worked part-time as a fundraising officer at First Key – a charity campaigning on behalf of care-leavers. I wrote dozens of funding applications and as I did so I learnt about the care system and particularly how hard life can be as a young adult without the reassuring foundation of a supportive family. Something I was lucky enough to be able to take for granted. I also discovered that I could write persuasively about these issues. So persuasively in fact that I generated nearly £200,000 for the charity over the space of just a few months.

It was an area that fascinated me but I knew I wasn’t cut-out to be a social worker.
Instead, I moved into recruitment communications, joining TMP Worldwide, a large recruitment advertising agency. During my time there, I was the project manager on hundreds of projects for a very diverse range of customers from banks, to hospitals, to car manufacturers, to universities, to nuclear power plants. But I was also lucky enough to be involved in a fostering and adoption project for Cheshire County Council, working with them to produce a full suite of marketing materials including a DVD. They achieved beacon status. I found my specialism.

This project led to lots more – with Surrey CC, Oxfordshire CC, the HSE in Ireland, Enfield CC, Sheffield CC to name but a few. I conducted research with carers, staff and members of the public, revamped marketing and recruitment materials, and delivered advertising campaigns to recruit carers for teenagers.

Setting up on my own has been the making of me.
In 2009 I set up my own business – Hilltop Communications. My first project was back with my original customer – now Cheshire West and Chester Council. They didn’t have any capacity inhouse to look after their fostering and adoption marketing activity so asked me to manage it on their behalf. I did so for four years, looking after both the development and delivery of a marketing strategy for fostering and the production of new marketing materials and website for both fostering and adoption, in co-ordination with the council’s marketing department. I also reviewed the recruitment process and helped the service implement a number of changes to improve the conversion rate from enquiry to approval and speed up timescales.

Meanwhile I was also busy winning business elsewhere. I won competitive pitches to produce new fostering recruitment materials for North Yorkshire County Council and Isle of Anglesey Council. You can see samples of this work in my portfolio. I developed the creative concepts for both authorities, wrote all the content and project managed everything from brief to completion. I have also presented at a ‘recruiting foster carers’ conference and am a recruitment champion for the Fostering Network.