Anna Sharkey's Review of 2020

2020 has been an incredibly trying year for the whole country and everyone has felt the effects of the pandemic in myriad different ways. The impact on our organisation has been huge. Our offices have had to close for several months and our staff, adopters and prospective adopters have had to adapt to a completely new way of working while demand for our services has risen hugely. In these unprecedented circumstances, I’m immensely proud of the adaptability, hard work and innovation of the Adoption Focus team. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to meet the challenges of this extraordinary year and provide a seamless continuity of service for the families we work with.

Despite the difficulties that 2020 has brought, Adoption Focus has enjoyed another extremely successful year. We’ve seen a huge increase in enquiries about adoption with record numbers of people visiting our website and a 40% increase in attendance at our information events. We’ve responded by increasing the frequency of our preparation training and adoption panels and quickly moving them to online delivery, allowing us to keep assessing and approving new families for children who need them. After a brief, enforced hiatus at the start of the first lockdown in April, we quickly resumed introducing children into new families and our team has worked hard to support our adopters and carers and to assure them they are valued.

To meet the rising demand for our services, we’ve further expanded our staff group. We’ve welcomed staff members into new roles within our social work and adoption support teams. This expansion will increase the capacity of our existing services, allowing us to prepare, approve and support more adopters.

In October, we were honoured to be recognised for our achievements as a charity by being named as the Solihull Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Charity of the Year. This followed on from being shortlisted for Greater Birmingham Chamber’s Excellence in the Third Sector award earlier in the year.

We’ve also been fortunate enough to receive generous funding donations from various sources:

  • £10,000 from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund
  • £1,000 from the Community Fund for Staffordshire
  • £5,000 from the Edward Cadbury Trust

In addition to this, we’re really grateful to adopters and supporters who have made individual donations or held fundraisers for our charity throughout the year.

As always, whatever the other accolades, achievements and obstacles overcome in the course of the year, the most important of all our successes as an organisation are the loving, well-supported, permanent homes we provide for vulnerable children. During 2020 we have placed 74 children with 54 new families. Adoption will always be the focus of all the work we do, and we look forward to working with many new prospective adopters next year and providing more loving, well-prepared, permanent homes for children who’ve had a difficult start in life.

Many, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to our success in the last 12 months – our staff, trustees, panel members, volunteers, supporters, and, most of all, our amazing adopters.

Wishing you a peaceful, safe and merry Christmas and a very happy new year.


Anna Sharkey

CEO, Adoption Focus


Anna Sharkey - Adoption Focus CEO