An Independent Visitor (IV) is an adult volunteer who befriends and develops a long-term friendship with a young person in care.
This can involve helping young people develop new interests, skills and hobbies or going on outings such as to the cinema, bowling or just a walk in the park.
The volunteers are called ‘Independent Visitors’ because they are a truly ‘independent’ person outside the care system giving the young person continuity, which is something not always possible with changing carers and social workers.
Each volunteer is carefully matched with a child or young person in care in their local area who shares similar interests.
We are looking to expand our national network of Independent Visitors and would love to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds who want to make a positive difference to a child’s life.
Often, NYAS volunteers are the only adult in a child’s life who is not paid to spend time with them. NYAS Independent Visitors act as role models to children and young people – providing them with positive opportunities and helping to create positive futures for them.
NYAS recruits volunteers from all backgrounds who give their time to this programme. NYAS asks that each volunteer spends time with their young person on a monthly basis and gives a minimum commitment of two years to the programme. The programme creates very meaningful relationships and is very rewarding for both the volunteer and child or young person.
“I am Katie’s IV. Katie is a 15 year old and she lives in a children’s home after a number of foster care placements have broken down.
Katie has special educational needs and it was suggested an IV would be good for her as she lacks confidence and struggles to make friends. Katie has no contact with her family.
Thanks to the grant towards positive activities for children and young people in care I have been able to involve Katie in some new activities, and she has had lots of fun.
Katie was interested in obstacle courses and liked to watch others on them but had never had the confidence to take part.
So I took her to a local Active Adventures centre and with encouragement from me she went on the high ropes, zip wire and maze. She really enjoyed herself and had a big beam on her face for the whole day. She was really proud of herself and still tells people about what she did that day.”