Why I love volunteering
I first met my young person almost a year ago, and we have been meeting up every two or three weeks ever since and I love it.
I began my training for the Independent Visitor (IV) role in October 2009 and was instantly impressed by the quality of the training, care and thought that Salford Children's Rights had put into supporting and preparing their volunteers.
The team at Salford Children's Rights were completely honest about the challenges we might come across with our paired young person and they took care in explaining the kind of environment and experiences a child in care may have faced.
'I'm glad that time was taken for the right match to be found.'
After finishing my training and passing my panel assessment in December 2009 I was originally paired with a 15-year-old boy which unfortunately didn't work out. After all the training and preparation this did feel disappointing as I was geared up to start, although somewhat nervous!
But I can now see how important it is that both the young person and the IV are comfortable with the match, and having been matched with my new young person, I'm glad that time was taken for the right match to be found.
I met my new young person in August 2010 and was nervous all over again. However, we got on really well from the start and when we meet up, I always make sure that we do activities that we both enjoy such as swimming or going to the roller disco. Ocassionally things will come up that determine what we do such as taking a trip into town for my young person to spend their clothes allowance.
Being a friend
Visits aren't always a bed of roses, after all I'm building a relationship with a teenager — never the easiest of tasks at the best of times! It may sound a bit weird, but the times when my young person has been in a really bad mood has actually been reassuring. The fact that they feel confident enough to drop their polite character and show me their other moods makes me feel like a trusted friend. In return, I'll keep turning up on time, ready for a good time no matter what so that the trust can continue growing.
So, here's to the next year, and the one after that, and the one after that...
By Kate Palmer, Independent Visitor at Salford Children's Rights
If you'd like to find out more about volunteering for The Children's Society, please visit our Volunteering section.