This week marks the start of National Volunteer Week (1 – 7 June) and whilst we can’t host any celebratory events NYAS couldn’t let the week pass without celebrating the amazing difference our volunteers make to children and young people in care across England and Wales.

Now more than ever, vulnerable children and young people are more likely to need ‘a reliable friend’ to support them through this difficult time so we are continuing to recruit volunteers across the UK.

Our volunteers, known as Independent Visitors, build helpful and positive relationships with children and young people who are in care with little or no contact with friends and family.

Independent visitors befriend and would usually, pre COVID-19, visit young people once a month to do fun activities and help to provide support and consistency in their lives.

Independent visitor volunteers are not like parents, social workers, or carers – that is why they are called ‘independent’. They are ordinary people, like you, who volunteer their time because they have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of children and young people. Often they are the only person in a child’s life who is not paid to be there.

Michael Williams, 44, is an independent visitor who has been volunteering for eighteen months.

He said: “As an opportunity to volunteer I can tell you that being an Independent Visitor has been one of the best things I have ever done. Not only do we have a great time, we are also developing a positive relationship and it’s so rewarding to support such an incredible young person.

“The matching process is so thorough and I feel like me and the young person are so well suited and have similar interests.

“I am learning so much about myself and I’m really grateful for this fantastic opportunity.”

NYAS have also been working with the National Independent Visitor network and fully support the Right Friend Campaign, to protect and promote the voice and well-being of care-experienced children and young people.

If you are over 18 and are interested in finding out more please email or click here for our volunteering opportunities vacancies.

Please follow our Twitter or Facebook pages to read the amazing ways our volunteers change young lives.