By Leah Conway –
Kirklees Council is seeking people to spare a few hours a month to help a vulnerable child or young person and make a difference to their life.
Volunteers would participate in Kirklees Council’s Independent Visitors Scheme, which supports children and young people in care.
The scheme supports children and teenagers to spend time with an adult that can take them on activities and outings and be someone they can talk to and trust.
The council encourages people of all backgrounds to get involved.
What does being an ‘Independent Visitor’ involve?
People that are kind, compassionate and committed to the safety and wellbeing of children would be a match for becoming an Independent Visitor. Volunteers need to be over the age of 18 and have the skills to befriend, listen to and support young people and need to commit to the scheme for at least a year.
Volunteers will receive high-quality training to prepare you for the role, together with peer support and ongoing development.
Independent Visitors are reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses. Through this role, people can develop knowledge and skills, gain valuable experience and make a vital contribution to the lives of young people in Kirklees.
“One of the best things I’ve ever done”
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Children, said: “Our Independent Visitors play an incredibly positive role in the life of a child or young person who is looked after in Kirklees.
“They provide friendship, advice and support and are sometimes the most consistent person in the young person’s life. They also offer opportunities for the young person to try new activities and build confidence.
“The difference can be made by something simple yet important, such as being a good listener or helping them to connect with new people and experiences.
“In Kirklees we do a huge amount of work with our children and young people who are looked after. Independent visitors add another vital layer to that support.”
Independent visitor Ann-Marie Wilkins said: “Being an Independent Visitor is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s so much fun spending time with a young person and doing activities together. It can be challenging too – you have to build trust and understanding – but it’s very rewarding when you form a good relationship with your young person.”
The closing date for applications is 13 August, applications can be found on Kirklees Council’s volunteering page, or you can email independentvisitors@kirklees.