Frequently asked questions about being an IV

If you have questions not addressed here, contact us.

1. How often do I visit and how long should the visits last? 

2. What commitment is expected of me? 

3. Do I need to complete paper work, if so do I get help if I struggle with paper work? 

4. What is a CRB check? 

5. Will volunteering affect my benefits? 

6. Who can volunteer from overseas? 

7. Do I need to drive and what type of car insurance do I require? 

8. Are volunteers reimbursed for expenses? 

9. Can being a volunteer help with my career? 

 

1. How often do I visit and how long should the visits last? 

Ideally we encourage our independent visitors to meet with their young person every fortnight. However the young person may want to see their independent visitor every three weeks, or once a month. As a service we listen to the young person’s needs and let the young person decide the best time for them. With this in mind, the usual time to spend with the young person is around two hours every two weeks - however it can be longer, depending on yourself and the young person. 

Top

2. What commitment is expected of me? 

Children and young people in care can be let down and some have little stability within their lives. As an independent visitor your role is to be dependable and offer stability so we generally ask that you give at least two years. This sounds a lot but if you break this down into weeks the amount of time isn’t that much. The time you give to a young person is invaluable. 

Top

3. Do I need to complete paper work, if so do I get help if I struggle with paper work? 

As part of the volunteering role, independent visitors are required to fill in a monthly return and expense form. This form helps us pay your out of pocket expenses and allows us to see how things are going. It is also a kind of supervision which helps us pick up on any issues that you may have and we will support you. If you struggle with paper work we will help you, all you need to do is ask!

Top

4. What is a CRB check? 

The term CRB simply means Criminal Records Bureau. The CRB check helps us make informed decisions about recruitment to protect the vulnerable young people that we work with. The CRB check is confidential and under section 124 of the Police Act 1997. You have to complete a CRB check to become a volunteer with our service. 

Top

5. Will volunteering affect my benefits? 

Volunteering will not affect your Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance. If you receive Job Seekers Allowance, you have to actively look for paid work as well as volunteering, but the Job Centre should give you a bit more notice if they call you for an interview. 

Any expenses you receive from us will not affect your benefits, as they are a refund of payments you have had to make.

Top

6. Who can volunteer from overseas? 

The rules on who can volunteer from overseas are complex and sometimes contradictory. However, there are no restrictions on volunteers from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 

Top

7. Do I need to drive and what type of car insurance do I require? 

To become a volunteer you don’t need to drive. If you do drive you should inform your insurer of your voluntary work. In 2011 the Association of British Insurers agreed that volunteering duties would be covered under motor insurance without an extra charge, but the policyholder must check with their Insurers to ensure that they are aware of their volunteering role. Check to see if your insurer has agreed (the insurer's name is written on the bottom of your certificate of motor insurance - it's not always the brand name of the company).

Top

8. Are volunteers reimbursed for expenses? 

Volunteers are reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses. You should keep your receipts and hand them in every month. You can also claim for car/bike mileage incurred during your visit. Although we do pay expenses, we ask that you are sensible as we are a charity. You can ask your IV Co-ordinator for ideas on what to do without spending lots of money. 

Top

9. Can being a volunteer help with my career? 

Studies have shown a link between volunteering and employability, in terms of new skills learned and increased confidence. Many people use volunteering to change their career and help others. Students also volunteer as this complements their qualifications and gives them some practical experience.