What Is An Independent Visitor?
An Independent Visitor (IV) is an adult who has volunteered to spend time with you. They are someone you can trust, and someone you can rely on. Ultimately, they want to help you have fun and create special memories.
Your IV will visit you at least once a month, so you'll see them regularly. They'll plan for whatever you want to do - any time they spend with you is all about you!
Together, you’ll arrange activities and make plans, such as going on a day trip. This could be a trip to the cinema, or going out for a meal together. Maybe you want to try a new sport, or you'd like some help with your homework. Whatever you're looking to do, an Independent Visitor will help to make it happen.
Who Can Have An Independent Visitor?
You have the right to an Independent Visitor if you are:
- Aged 18 and under
- Living in care
If you're looking to learn more about your rights and entitlements during your time in care, NYAS have put together a simple guide to help you understand them.
Your relationship with an Independent Visitor is long term, so you are able to build a lasting friendship together if that is something that you want.
An Independent Visitor is not a carer or social worker. They are a volunteer who:
- Will always listen to you
- Is not paid to be there
- You can have fun with
- Chooses to spend time with you
What Can I Do With My Independent Visitor?
You and your Independent Visitor will decide together where you would like to go and what you would like to do.
You can teach your Independent Visitor about all the things you like doing in your spare time. They can often introduce you to new activities and visit new places with you.
Togehter with your Independent Visitor, you could:
- Visit the cinema
- Go out for a meal
- Go shopping
- Learn a new hobby
- Play video games
- Visit a local attraction, like a zoo or museum
- Go for walks
- Play or watch sports
These are just examples, and how you choose to spend your time with your Independent Visitor is completely up to you.
How Can I Get An Independent Visitor?
If you're interested in having an Independent Visitor, NYAS can help. You can contact our national helpline by freephone telephone, online chat, email or WhatsApp. Our team can then get you started with your request.
If you prefer, you can ask your social worker or someone you trust to contact us on your behalf.
If English is not your first language, we can provide an interpreter to join your call.
Our Helpline is open Monday to Friday 9.00am–8pm. If you contact us outside of these times, we will be in touch once the helpline opens again.
What Happens After I Request an IV?
Once you have made a request, an IV Coordinator from your area will be in touch, and help you start the process to find a perfect match for you.
They will find out more about you so we can pair you with the person best suited to your interests and hobbies. Once we find someone we think you'll like, you then get to decide if you want to meet up with them.
Our visits have been the highlight in my life and you have been the best friend I could ever ask for. Thanks so much for everything and I've become such a better person and more confident.
Lavanya, Young Person
I like my IV visiting me. The visit to the zoo was special as I got to see and learn about lots of animals for my school project. Some bits were scary like the bats because they flew past my head.
Alex, Young Person
Still Have Questions?
If you want to learn more about the NYAS Independent Visitor service, or you want to ask about any of NYAS' services, just get in touch.
Living in Care
Living in care should be a positive experience. You should be kept safe, cared for and given opportunities to reach your full potential. Where you will live depends on what is best for you and how long you will need to be looked after.
Rights and Entitlements
There’s lots of legislation, regulation and guidance which explains what rights and entitlements you have because you are living in care. It’s important for you to know your rights and entitlements so you know when you are not being treated properly.