In life, as they say, “it’s often the little things that count”. For foster children experiencing the upset and dislocation of being moved from their birth families, one small thing can loom large and add to the sense of despondency. Anything that can be done to lessen the strain and pressure on a foster child almost certainly struggling to cope has to be a good thing. When those of us who are more fortunate think about all our worldly possessions, we don’t envisage them being accommodated in a bin bag: a jarring thought for anyone – especially a child. Enter Dave Linton – former foster dad and founder of Madlug – a man on a mission. He was deeply upset to discover that most children in care are forced through necessity to cart their worldly belongings around in bin bags. Is it possible to imagine a more visible representation of an individual being at rock bottom – whatever their age? Probably not. Dave Linton determined that he would do something about it. With a mere £480, he set up Madlug in 2015. He devised a ‘Buy one Give one’ offer which meant that every bag purchased resulted in a free on going to a foster child. His view is that no child in care should “carry their life in a bin bag”
Dave Linton had been attending a foster care course on 2014 and as part of that experience, he was – in his own words – “shown a video interview with a young girl in a wheelchair who said, ‘Health Trusts don’t provide suitcases. Sometimes foster carers loan us a suitcase but more often our belongings are moved in black plastic bin bags and we lose our dignity.” The sense that no child should be exposed to such an indignity was the inspiration behind Madlug. Again, in his own words:
“we are the only one-for-one luggage company in the world supporting children in care. This means that with each Madlug product bought, a brand new bag is gifted to a young person who needs one so they don’t have to use a bin bag again. It’s a really simple idea but amazingly transformational for the young people affected.”
Recognition, rightly, has now followed with Dave Linton and his company being nominated to be a New Radical in 2016. This has bestowed national recognition and validation on Madlug as a social enterprise; one making a tangible difference in the lives of young people. The Observer newspaper works with Nesta – an organisation that backs new ideas to equip young people with the skills needed to get good jobs in the future. Together they created the New Radical List.
Dave Linton recognises the good work done by professionals in the UK foster care system, believing they make it what it is. But he also thinks that education is the essential ingredient to empower disadvantaged youngsters to succeed in life.
Foster care figures show the need for Madlug
There are currently over 90,000children in the care system in the UK and Ireland. Depressingly, a child enters the care system every fifteen minutes. What is especially worrying is that over half of these youngsters are victims of neglect or abuse. And children in foster care don’t have a voice.
It is all too easy to forget that behind these figures there are individual children. Perhaps reading this one moving account by a fifteen year old will give some idea as to how black bin bags can become emblematic of lost hope:
“Let me tell you what it feels like
You pack my stuff alright
Okay so it’s on the floor right there
Washed, dirty you don’t care
Our relationship has somewhat ceased.
Stuffing my clothes, my memories the only things I have in black bags
Throwing me out like an old rag
I meant nothing to you
The bags are breaking, My belongings cutting through
Sending me on my way
Telling me I’m going with no delay
Because I called you a bitch
Where am I going, in a ditch.
My social worker picks me up
You don’t say goodbye, don’t even look up.
Off I go again. My belongings stuffed in plastic bags.
Throwing me out like an old rag.”
Open your heart – and open your home to a vulnerable child?
If you decide to join Rainbow foster care services, you will experience the rewards foster care can bring. And you will be part of a dedicated team motivated to do its best for improving the life chances of some particularly vulnerable youngsters. We can offer one of the most attractive foster carer packages available and along with this, you will benefit from:
Rainbow: our unique approach to foster care
Childhood is that most special time in a person’s life. It should be when the world appears full of excitement and opportunity. A place to be explored from the security of a loving family and home. But without this, the world can suddenly seem a dark, threatening place. Sadly, this is the lot of far too many children and young people. At Rainbow we dedicate ourselves to supporting our foster carers to provide homes that can make life once more be something to be enjoyed. All children deserve the right to grow up with dreams they have a chance of fulfilling. The best foster carers accomplish this. We just need more of them – especially as each year experienced foster carers are lost through retirement.
Be a part of Team Rainbow and benefit from our twenty plus years experience in foster care. We are recruiting across London and now Manchester and Birmingham. Ring one of recruitment specialists on 020 8427 3355 or 0330 311 2845 (our foster care National Line). It’s a friendly initial chat without any obligation whatsoever. We like to find out what your motivations to foster are and ensure that you meet the basic criteria. You can send us an email via our website and request a time for us to call you back which is convenient to you.
More foster care news:
An appeal has been launched for more foster carers in Flintshire, Wales
21st, August, 2018. Visit our site at –
All blogs written by Will Saunders: Rainbow Fostering – Content Management/Marketing