Befriend a child in Care (Independent Visitor)  with SOVA (Gloucestershire) (Ref: 1574)
Opportunity picture
SOVA is looking for volunteers to act as Independent Visitors to support children and young people (8-18) being looked after by the local authority. They often have little contact with their own families.

As an "Independent Visitor" you'll visit a child in care once a month to build a trusting relationship in order to promote their developmental, social, emotional, educational, religious or cultural needs. This is a primarily a befriending role, aimed at rebuilding trust between children in care and adults, particularly where the child’s earlier relationships with adults has ended in disillusionment and disappointment.

You would meet your young person on a monthly basis and perhaps take them out for coffee, help them try out a new activity, provide encouragement or simply be there just to listen to them. You may be the only person in their life who is not paid to work with them. You could make a real difference to a young person’s confidence, self worth and sense of belonging.

You'll be able to promote long term outcomes such as reducing social isolation, raising aspirations, increasing independence skills and provide support to build social skills, confidence and self-esteem.

Where necessary, Independent Visitors will liaise with other professionals to ensure the child’s needs are being met and that their voice is being heard.

This role is particularly suited to volunteers who are passionate about supporting children and young people and promoting their rights. You may be interested in acquiring new skills to gain employment in this area, or just feel motivated to share your experience and compassion to benefit a child who has endured a challenging start to life.
What are they looking for?

They are looking for adults to visit a young person who is living in either foster care or residential children’s home once a month. You will be matched with one young person who needs extra support and encouragement and be expected to be involved for at least 18 months or longer

You'll need the following skills:

* Good interpersonal, verbal and communication skills.
* Patience.
* The ability to be non-judgemental.
* The ability to form good working relationships with a variety of people, especially young people and their parents/guardians if required and representatives of other agencies both statutory and voluntary.
* Ability to be assertive and to advocate.
* Ability to recognise factors which cause stress both in oneself and others, and to identify appropriate coping mechanisms.
* Commitment to attend training courses and supervision and de-briefing meetings.
* Able to commit to a long-term investment as a volunteer with a minimum of monthly visits of a minimum of 3 hours
* Previous experience of advocacy, appropriate adult role or working with children and young people is desirable


Monthly visits typically last from 2 to 4 hours. Wheelchair access, Volunteer expenses covered, Induction for volunteers, Insurance cover in place, Training provided

When: Evenings and weekends
Age requirements: Over 18


About SOVA (Gloucestershire)
SOVA (Gloucestershire) logo
SOVA is an organisation that aims to enable positive change in the community. Their staff team and national network of committed volunteers deliver a range of services including:

* Supporting mental health, emotional wellbeing, risk taking behaviours and family relationships
* Advocacy, befriending and mentoring for children, young people and families
* Rehabilitation and mentoring packages for juvenile and adult offenders, addressing dependency, mental health, housing and employment needs
* Supporting those furthest away from the labour market back into work, education or training
* Housing and tenancy support to reduce likelihood of homelessness and reduce anti-social behaviour
* Working in partnership with Local Authorities to deliver statutory public services including Appropriate Adult provision and Independent Visitors for looked after children.

See all roles with SOVA (Gloucestershire)