The role of an Independent Visitor is to befriend a looked after young person to make a positive difference to their life. This provides the young person with the opportunity to develop a trusting, reliable relationship with an adult who will listen to them, offer one to one independent support and advice as well as supporting their involvement in fun social and leisure activities. The Independent Visitor can be a friend, mentor and/or advocate to the young person depending on their individual needs – most importantly the Independent Visitor is someone the young person can trust and enjoy spending time with. Independent Visitors visit a young person on a regular basis, and it is expected that this will be once a month. The visits can be for a couple of hours or for the whole day, depending on the planned activity.
Independent Visitors do not need any formal qualifications but do need to be able to relate well to children and to have a genuine interest in the welfare of young people. You also need to commit to visiting a child or young person for at least two years. For some children, earlier relationships with adults have ended in disappointment. The establishment of a trusting relationship will form one of the main elements of the befriending role. This could be a slow process and will require patience and understanding. Most importantly, an Independent Visitor should be reliable and committed to visiting the child regularly.