Independent visitors are volunteers who are matched with children and young people who are in care and who have little or no contact with their families. The scheme is designed so you meet the young person on a regular basis to do activities you both enjoy and hopefully in time build up a positive relationship.
We seek volunteers from all walks of life who have some free time to offer a child or young person. These young people are living in a children’s home, they may have moved among numerous foster placements or could be in a kinship care arrangement.
Young people regard Independent Visitors as adult friends who support them through difficult times, take them on activities such as supporting the young person to join a sports team, seeing films at the cinema, cycling, bowling or dog walking. You will provide a listening ear and, in many cases, offer a long-term support to the young person.
Any applicants will need to be over the age of 18. They must be as independent as possible from Social Services, and for this reason they must not work for Durham County Council or be an elected member of the local council.
No formal education or qualifications are needed to be an Independent Visitor, although some personal qualities are pre-requisite to the role. Independent Visitors need to have an active interest in the welfare of children and must have flexible attitude and be resilient. Above all, Independent Visitors need to be reliable and committed to visiting their child or young person regularly.
Expenses for activities and mileage are paid. There is a full training package with ongoing support through supervision provided. A driving license is not necessary but is useful. A enhanced criminal check will be requested paid for the service.
Provides excellent experience for working with young people, often a pre-requisite for many job opportunities in this field.
Contributes to your looking after your community ensuring that young people will be able to contribute well to society.
Feel good factor – supporting a young person who has potentially had a difficult start to life helps promote good mental health and positivity.
Comprehensive training package.
Assurance of references for employment.
Opportunity to work in other areas of the Youth Justice service where appropriate.