50 not out! Support scheme celebrates its success
The scheme is just as rewarding for the volunteers who take part and I'd urge people to find out more information and get involved if they canLaura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services
A Wiltshire Council befriending scheme, that has supported more than 200 young people living in care, has just successfully made its 50th active match.
The council's Independent Visitor Scheme is one of many across the country which aims to provide young people in care with independent support from a friendly trusted adult. It is very popular with young people, all of whom choose to be referred to the service. The scheme is currently one of the largest in the country.
Recently, the council reached its half century of volunteers who are matched with a young person. Emily, who is the 50th volunteer to be matched, is keen to encourage more people to come forward and be part of the scheme:
Emily said: "I'm really excited about becoming part of the Independent Visitor Scheme, it's such a fantastic initiative enabling members of the community to volunteer for just a few hours a month in a really impactful way. I'm looking forward to getting to know a young person and being able to give them my one-to-one time, energy, fun and support".
One of the council's newly matched volunteers is also keen to share her experience with other potential volunteers.
Wendy said: "As a new Independent Visitor, I have completed six visits with the young person so far. To date we have played foot golf, walked my dog, been to the cinema and painted pottery. I am really enjoying the role!"
"We chat and have fun and are gradually getting to know each other and to build a relationship. I feel I am giving a little bit back by being an Independent Visitor and doing fun activities together makes it so enjoyable."
The council would like to grow the scheme further over the next two years, so that even more young people in care can benefit. All applicants are welcome to enquire. Male volunteers are currently under-represented and the scheme is especially looking to recruit more men to this important role, as well as volunteers who may have time to travel further afield, to visit children outside Wiltshire.
Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children's services, said: "This scheme has proved to be invaluable for young people and we're really pleased to have reached this milestone and see it go from strength to strength.
"For a young person in care, the availability of an independent, consistent role model can have a hugely positive impact.
"The scheme is just as rewarding for the volunteers who take part and I'd urge people to find out more information and get involved if they can."
If anyone would like to know more about the scheme and how they volunteer to support a young person living in care, they should contact:
Anthony Andrews, Independent Visitor Scheme Support Worker, on 01225 713961 or 07423 680983 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can also be found online.