Leicestershire County Council is marking Volunteers’ Week by making a new appeal for independent visitors for children in care.
For some children in care, their only adult influences are professionals, such as foster carers, social workers or teachers.
“An independent visitor can be a role model and friend outside this network.
“The scheme offers a flexible way for people to support children in care and make a positive difference by spending a few hours each month with them, providing friendship and support,” said the council.
“Independent visitors might take a young person to the cinema, to play football at the park or another activity.
“These simple actions offer consistency and fun for vulnerable young people, as well as being rewarding for volunteers.”
Sallyanne and Richard have been independent visitors for seven years. They said: “It feels good to make a difference to someone else, however small a part of her life we are.
“We see how her trust and confidence has grown since we’ve been taking her out, and we love making her laugh.
“She really makes us laugh too.”
The council is particularly looking for more men to volunteer. Independent visitor David said: “We get on well and he seems to enjoy our time together.
“He positively engages with me and the activities we do.
“I enjoy seeing him happy and it gives me satisfaction too.”
Cllr Deborah Taylor, the county council’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “All kinds of people can be brilliant independent visitors.
“Our children in care come from lots of different backgrounds.
“We’re looking for people from all walks of life with different experiences and interests to connect with them and build meaningful friendships.”
She added: “If you feel you could offer support, fun and friendship to a child and create memories for both of you, we’d love to tell you more about becoming an independent visitor.”
Whilst independent visiting is a volunteer role, expenses are paid for days out and activities.
If you would like to be an independent visitor, or have any questions, contact the council’s Fostering Team on 0116 305 05 05 or email [email protected]
For more information about different ways to foster, visit www.fosteringleicestershire.com