Independent visitor scheme

If you want to volunteer, have fun and make a difference to a young person's life, become an independent visitor for looked after children and recent care leavers.

An independent visitor is a volunteer who befriends and visits a young person living in the care of the council such as in a residential unit or foster care. Young people are usually aged between 5 and 21 years.

We ask that you can give a young person a few hours per month for a minimum of two years. This is because you will play an important part in the young person's social, emotional and educational development.

Activities can involve anything from football in the park, seeing the latest films or other things you both want to do. Budget and travel expenses are provided each month.

Testimonies from independent visitors and young people

"My IV has a great sense of humour, is aware of my safety and gives me independence. She's like me and gets my humour - she always laughs at my jokes."

"He is doing a great job. He is chilled, quite funny, never sad and always cheerful. He listens to what I say and what I want to do. He’s reliable and doesn’t let me down."

"She has helped me with my confidence a lot. I don’t know why – she just does. I think it is because we get on, I don’t have to pretend to be someone else and I can just be myself around her."

Find more information about other independent visitor schemes in neighbouring authorities as well as news and useful resources on the National Independent Visitor Network external link website.

What you'll need

You do not need experience of working with children and young people, just an interest in the development and welfare of children. Full training and support is provided. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply.

We will support you with:

  • ongoing training which will ensure you are appropriately equipped
  • a copy of our handbook
  • a named coordinator, who will take responsibility for the support and supervision of your match with a young person
  • monthly contact from your named coordinator either by phone or email
  • a formal review after six months, with appropriate feedback from the young person, their carer and relevant professionals involved in their life
  • annual support meetings
  • the opportunity to provide feedback your relationship with the young person
  • access to agreed expenses to cover the cost of activities, travel and a gift allowance for the young person’s birthday and religious celebrations
  • access to out of office hours support for anything urgent
  • optional social gatherings along with other independent visitors

All volunteers will be expected to undergo an enhanced DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) and provide at least two references.

Contact us


0113 378 0016
(8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 4pm on Fridays)

(please include a contact telephone number)

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