Young people may have a range of professionals working with them. However, it is recognised that having someone impartial to talk to and offer support can make a difference to self esteem and engagement. The Independent Visitor Volunteer Scheme is a statutory service for children who are ‘looked after’ by the local authority. It is for those children who would benefit from having an independent adult in their life. This scheme is voluntary for the young person, which means that they can choose to have an Independent Visitor at any time from age 8 years, up until they turn 18.
The scheme is provided by volunteers who want to befriend and support a young person on a long-term basis. The offer is made in order to give young people the chance to spend time and build a relationship with an adult, who is not involved in their lives as a professional or carer and that can see them throughout their time in care.
The IV volunteer will form part of a package of interventions to help young people whilst in care, supported and supervised by a Hampshire County Council volunteer co-ordinator. Volunteers will be matched with children/young people and offer one to one support. This is likely to include meeting up face to face and supporting them to engage in positive activities. A crucial aspect will be the ability to build positive relationships which allow children and young people to feel listened to and supported and continue as long as needed.
Face to Face meetings are likely to take place in a variety of local settings to be agreed between the child/young person, volunteer and volunteer coordinator and may include schools, youth clubs, cafes etc. Volunteers will receive a full training program on how to deliver support which will equip them to provide guidance and advice. Volunteers will have access to support and advice whilst delivering volunteering activities from Hampshire’s locally based volunteer coordinators
The Volunteer will:
Work with the volunteer coordinator to agree a match to families.
Attend an introduction meeting with the family and the families allocated Children’s Services worker.
Engage with the family.
Discuss and agree information sharing with the parent/carers.
Record and share information as agreed.
May work with more than one family at a time (depending upon the time they are able to offer).
Skills & Experience:
Training and support will be provided therefore previous experience is not essential. We are seeking volunteers who feel able to:
Communicate and ensure people, with varied levels of ability, understand information.
Build and maintain positive, on-going relationships with parents/carers.
Listen and remain calm and impartial when dealing with families.
Deliver parenting advice and support and constructively challenge behaviours where appropriate.
Respect differing views of individuals and work in a non judgemental way.
Respect confidentiality and the agreed information sharing process.
Have the confidence to report concerns to their Volunteer Coordinator.
Be able to describe their role and maintain professional.
All volunteering expenses including mileage and parking will be paid. In order to claim mileage, the Volunteers are required to hold business use insurance, and provide evidence of this and their MOT certificate to the Volunteer Coordinator.
The amount of support each child/young person requires will vary depending upon their needs. Volunteers will need to be able to commit to 1 visit a month (four hours a month) for a minimum of 12 months.
This volunteering opportunity is subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.