Volunteers are being encouraged to come forward and take on an important role helping to support children in care.
National research by the Children’s Rights Director for England shows that many children in care would like to have the support of an independent adult in their lives; someone who could spend quality time with them, listen to their day to day concerns and take a special interest in their lives.
Wiltshire Council’s Independent Visitor Scheme is looking to train more Independent Visitors to take on this valuable role; volunteers are needed who can communicate well with young people, share their interests and have some regular time to spare.
More than 80 young people have received support from the Wiltshire scheme since it first started in 2000 and many continue to be involved with the scheme long term.
The council is keen to broaden the range of volunteers it has available to match with young people. Men in particular are asked to come forward and become Independent Visitors for teenage boys in care who would like a male role model.
The scheme is also particularly looking for volunteers in the north, west and centre of the county, and volunteers who have experience in supporting with children with additional needs.
Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “ Young people in care can often feel vulnerable and isolated so this volunteering role will be vital in ensuring they have much needed support, encouragement and consistency at such an important time in their life”.
One young person who has been matched with their Independent Visitor for eight years said: “She’s kind, friendly and a great listener. She can cheer me up any time; having an IV means that you have someone to talk and a friend that you can keep even after you’ve left the social service. She is really nice, a good listener when I need to rant and she is just a very nice person, one of those people you can always get on with and she always thinks of good things to do. Having an IV is just awesome”.
For more information please contact the scheme manager Sheila Lupton on 01225 713934 or 07733 303124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can also be found at:www.wiltshire.gov.uk/independentvisitorscheme