What: Action for Children is committed to helping the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK break through injustice, deprivation and equality. We are one of the UK’s largest children’s charities, and our values – equality, passion and hope – ensure that children are at the centre of everything we do.
The Independent Visitor Project brings children and young people together with an adult who will take an interest in their life and regularly spend time with them.
The volunteer role: As an INDEPENDENT VISITOR – You will
• visit, advise and befriend a child or young person in residential care or in a foster home
• enable a child or young person to have contact with someone who is independent of the Social Services Department.
• provide an “adult friend” for a child or young person who has little or no contact with members of his/her own family.
INDEPENDENT VISITORS will need to be able to develop positive working relationships with the following
- the child or young person
- the child or young person’s social worker
- the child or young person’s carer / s
- the Independent Visitor project staff
INDEPENDENT VISITORS main tasks include:
• To befriend and take an interest in the child or young person, ensuring at all times his or her personal safety and welfare
• To ensure that the child or young person’s views and wishes are being heard and considered, recognising that, being young, they are more likely than adults to have their basic human rights forgotten or ignored.
• To contribute to the child or young person’s social, emotional and educational development.
• To be aware of and seek to promote any needs specifically related to the child or young person’s race, culture, language, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation and to challenge discrimination.
• To keep in touch with others who have a responsibility for the child or young person as necessary.
• To respect confidentiality, provided that the child or young person’s welfare is not put at risk by doing so.
• To keep in touch with Project staff as mutually agreed.
• To keep basic records of visits according to the record policy for the Independent Visitor Project.
Visits are no more than twice a month and you will be reimbursed for expenses up to an agreed amount. We work in the following locations – Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, South Tyneside, and Sunderland.
Skills/experience/training: All volunteers undergo our induction and training programme that includes core skills and knowledge of working with children and young people. Being an Independent Visitor provides an opportunity to gain some insights into how social services work with young people and gain experience of what it’s like for the young person. You will also have a lot of fun and, in some way, be making a difference to a child/young person.
Training/Expenses: All volunteers undergo Action for Children Independent Visitors Scheme induction/training programme which includes core skills for working with vulnerable/isolated young people. Training MUST be undertaken before any Independent Visitor can be matched with a young person.
Skills Acquisition: This is an intense project which offers volunteers skills in working with young people, gain an insight into how social services and the “looked after” system works in relation to young people. You will gain skills in communication, teamwork and working with disaffected isolated young people.