NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) provide extensive support to children and young people whilst they are in the care system. Their Independent Visitor volunteers are an important part of their work, providing a positive, consistent and supportive presence for those in care, through developing a long term friendship with them. The volunteers are called ‘Independent Visitors’ because they are a truly ‘independent’ person outside the care system giving the young person continuity, which is something not always possible with changing carers and social workers.
Each volunteer is carefully matched with a child or young person in care in their local area who shares similar interests.
As an Independent Visitor Volunteer you meet up with your child or young person for a few hours each week to spend dedicated time with them. You might help them develop new interests, skills and hobbies or go on outings with them to places such as the cinema, bowling or just take a walk in the park. Most importantly you are a consistent supportive presence in their life who is willing and able to befriend them and spend dedicated time with them. You will value and respect the wishes and feelings of the child or young person and where necessary represent their wishes and interests to other significant persons.
Independent Visitor Volunteers come from all walks of life. No specific formal qualifications are required. All we ask is that you are over 18, in good enough health to be able to meet with your child or young person regularly and be able to do activities with them. You need to be open minded, patient, responsible and have a good sense of humour with the ability to relate well to young people and have a genuine interest in their well-being. Many children and young people in care have trust issues and really need their Independent Volunteer to be there for every arranged meeting. You could be the only adult they spend time with that is not paid to be with them, so your relationship is extra special.
We ask that you are able to commit at least two to four hours each month for at least two years to be with your child or young person, but many Independent Visitor Volunteers give up a few hours more regularly and have much longer lasting friendships.
Young people who want an Independent Visitor may be facing difficulties and situations you may not be familiar with which is why you will receive regular one to one support from your local NYAS Co-ordinator. You will also be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. This includes activities undertaken with your young person and an allowance for travel expenses. Any necessary training will be provided so you can continue your friendship with confidence.
As you would expect we have to have a rigorous vetting procedure to make sure that all of the volunteers we recruit are suitable to spend time with and build up a close relationship with vulnerable children and young people. Prospective volunteers undergo a clear and comprehensive selection process involving interviews, reference checks and training. We will also carry out an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring) check.
If you would like an informal chat about this role please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why get involved?
As an Independent Visitor Volunteer you may be the only adult in that child or young person’s life who isn’t paid to be with them. Their life maybe an ever changing list of carers and social workers and you may be the only consistent person in their lives. You will help them develop new skills and interests. The time you spend with them will be invaluable to helping them develop and gain confidence to move successfully into adulthood.
You’ll strengthen your communication and empathy skills with the younger generation and get to pass on your hobbies and interests to another person. You’ll get to see the world through another’s eyes and perhaps even develop interests that you’d never previously considered. Most of all you’ll make a positive difference to the life of another and establish a meaningful relationship that will stay with you long after your meetings finish.
How to get involved?
- Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
- Accept the challenge
- Await a response from NYAS with more information
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