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Becoming an independent visitor

For the past three years, Jack has volunteered his time to support young people in the Care system. He is an Independent Visitor. That means he is there to listen to them and dedicate his time to help them do activities that help improve their wellbeing. It can be as simple as a walk in the park, or a visit to the aquarium. Here Jack explains what motivated him to begin volunteering, what he does in his role, and why others should consider giving it a go.


What motivated you to begin volunteering? 

boy speaking to an adult man

What motivated you to begin volunteering? 

 “Volunteering was something I’d wanted to do for a while. I’d worked for a long time in the private sector for a massive international company. I reached a point where I really wanted to do something different.” 

"I wasn’t really aware of the number of young people in and around the care system. When you start to unpeel some of the information and look at the statistics, it’s quite harrowing. I think that resonated with me. I thought I could offer something and so I applied.” 

What is an Independent Visitor? 

“As an Independent Visitor you’re not there to judge or make decisions. You are purely someone that a young person can spend time with, have fun with, talk to.” 

We’re there to give the young person some respite.

“You might take them out to do an activity they may not otherwise get to do. It can also just be as simple as a walk in the park.” 

“I have a dog, and the boy I was supporting really liked them, so we’d take the dog to a park and kick a football around. It allows them some time out and a positive distraction from what’s going on for them in other aspects of life."  

young people talking with volunteer

Become a volunteer

Whether you're working behind the scenes or shouting about our work on stage, however much time and energy you can give, it's a big help.

What do you enjoy most about the role? 

What do you enjoy most about the role? 

“One of the lovely things about being an Independent Visitor is knowing that something you’re doing is having a huge positive impact on someone else’s life.” 

"There is a great sense of wellbeing that you get from it. I just think that it is one of the most rewarding things."

girl walks in the park with backpack on

I just think that it is one of the most rewarding things.

“There have been really lovely moments during my time volunteering. One that jumps to mind is when we were at an aquarium, and the young person I supported just grabbed my hand and said, ‘you’ve got to see this, Jack!’ and dragged me over to look at something. It was important enough that he wanted to share it with me in that moment and that was great.” 

“Children will often be honest and say what they think. Therefore when you do get those questions like, ‘When can we do this again’, it is hugely gratifying. 

I just think that it is one of the most rewarding things.

What would you say to others interested in volunteering? 

“If you’re thinking about volunteering, I'd suggest you go and do a bit of discovery and look at the initial bits of training.” 

“If you choose to volunteer with The Children’s Society, you’ll have training, you’ll have a volunteer coordinator, you’ll have a support system around you. You’ll have phone numbers and people to contact with any issues. The support mechanism is vast and very useful.” 

“There are so many children that need support. You will be surprised at how much you can offer.” 

If you have some time and you think you could, you probably should.

Volunteer with us

We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible volunteers. From running our shops, or keeping campaigns alive, to becoming an independent visitor. No matter what you choose, you will be joining an inspiring community focused on giving young people a brighter future. 

Find a volunteering role that is right for you. 

Author: Edward Herbert