What is the Independent Visitor Scheme?
There are about 69,000 young people living in care in the UK. They may be in foster care or in a children’s home, or can move from place to place and have most likely experienced challenging childhoods. The Independent Visitor Scheme is a statutory service the Council has to provide for young people living in care. Similar to Mentoring, an Independent Visitor (or Befriender) is a volunteer who will build a positive relationship with a young person. An IV is completely independent form Social Services and the Care System the young person is in and so an IV is someone just for them, someone they can talk to, who will support them, and be their voice when they need, as well as making some fun childhood memories with!
What will I be doing as a IV?
To build that positive relationship takes time, and so our IV’s and their young people usually meet for a few hours, every few weeks, for about 2 years or more. It is about being a consistent adult in that young person’s life for as long as you both feel they need that support. During that time you can do anything together; go for a walk, grab a milkshake, go to the cinema, make something crafty, try a new sport, the aim is to get to know each other and build that young person’s confidence, self esteem and resilience.
What support will I get?
Before you even get started you will receive full training from our team which will cover safeguarding and practical advice on supporting a young person, as well as training on specific issues they may face. We also aim to provide additional training throughout your volunteering experience to develop your skills and knowledge. We will provide you with tons of free resources of places to go and things to do. You will also get matched with a Youth Support Coordinator who will get to know you and your young person to help support your relationship and will always be there for advice and guidance. We host regular group activities for all Mentors/IV’s and their young people to get involved in which are fun and a great way to meet others. You can also join us for our regular socials where Mentors and IV’s can get together to share ideas.
What do I need to be a Independent Visitor?
Our IV’s come from all walks of life and backgrounds, ranging in experience and interests. What connects all our IV’s is a shared passion for making a difference for a young person living in care.
Whilst you do not need any particular experience or skills as our training will provide you with all you will need, we do ask that Volunteer Independent Visitors are:
- A minimum age of 21
- Are passionate and committed to mentoring a child or young person for at least two years
- Can establish a positive long-term relationship with a child/young person and be a positive role model
- Are non-judgemental, good listeners and able to engage with a child/young person
- Are reliable, honest, enthusiastic and fun
- Can adhere to policies and procedures at all times with particular emphasis on equality and diversity, health and safety and safeguarding
- Are able to drive and have access to a vehicle
This sounds great, what do I do next?
If you would like to know more or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Volunteering Team on 01204 540 139 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. If you have already made your mind up and would like to register your interest then you can start the process now!
- Complete and return an Application Form
- Attend an Informal Chat with one of the team
- Attend and pass our Safeguarding training and IV training courses
- Complete a full, enhanced DBS check (BLGC cover the cost of this)
- Provide two referees