A Saturday morning kick about in the park? Going out for pizza? A couple of games of pitch and putt on a Saturday afternoon? Volunteering? Are these activities that appeal to you? Would you like to make a difference to the life of a child in care?
West Sussex County Council’s Independent Visitor Scheme pairs potential volunteers like you with a child or young person living in care and supports you to do activities that you’ll both enjoy.
As an Independent Visitor you would be matched with a child, whom you would visit regularly, spending time with them and taking an interest in their life. Dependent on the child’s age, interests and needs you could spend time enjoying an activity together, chatting over a cuppa, or support them in speaking up in a meeting.
Many young people in care have limited involvement with adults other than their carers, social workers and other professionals. Their Independent Visitor is a person with whom they can talk to and share their interests.
Sam, an Independent Visitor to a 15 year old boy living in a children’s home, said of the scheme: “Being an Independent Visitor is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
“I’ve learned how to play tennis, gone for pancakes and had a couple of rounds of pitch and putt with the young person I was paired with”.
“I see him about once a month and really look forward to our visits. I reckon I’ve got far more out of it than he has!”
Jason, 15, who has been paired with an Independent Visitor for a couple of years, said: “Having an Independent Visitor has helped me go out more, as originally I would be on my own in my room.”
Volunteers from a variety of backgrounds are needed to meet the needs of children and young people accessing the Independent Visitor Scheme. Full training is offered to volunteers and you will be fully supported by the Independent Visitor Scheme Co-ordinator.
Expenses are paid so volunteering for the scheme won’t leave you out of pocket and you’ll get to experience some great days out with a fantastic young person.
To find out more contact Maria Lonergan, Independent Visitor Scheme Co-ordinator, on 0330 222 26741.