Volunteer opportunity description

Asphaleia is an organisation with a simple mission: to impact as many children and young people who have experienced disadvantage as we can. Children and young people are at the heart of everything that we do and have been for the 18 years that we have been running. We provide the Independent Visiting Service for London Borough of Bromley and we are looking for volunteers to befriend and support a child in care

The Independent Visiting (IV) service is not well-known. Yet it is a requirement stated in the Children’s Act 2008 that every young person in care should be offered a visitor. The only stipulation is that it needs to be in the child’s best interests.  From our perspective, it is in most children and young people’s best interests to have a visitor.

An IV is an adult volunteer who is matched to one young person. They visit them once per month for a minimum of two hours. The IV and the young person can partake in an activity such as: bowling, going for a walk in the park, having lunch, trampolining, visiting a museum. The important part is the relationship. The IV provides the young person with a consistent role model who will listen to them. Someone who is not a professional involved in their care plan.

Sarah and Jessica have been matched for nearly a year (names have been changed). Jessica didn’t have many friends and it was difficult for her foster carers to take her out due to other young people in the placement. Over the past year Sarah and Jessica’s relationship has blossomed. Their first visit was to a trampolining park and Jessica enjoyed it so much she asked if their visits could occur every two weeks!

Five months later, they went to a fun fair and Sarah said that when her sat nav ran out of battery on the way home, Jessica directed Sarah the long route back in order to extend their time together. During the organisational Young Person Takeover week in November 2017, Sarah encouraged Jessica to ‘takeover’ the planning of their visit. Jessica chose the activity (laser tag) and then booked it. She did not want to do it initially but still took up the challenge and it was a real point of achievement for Jessica and a helpful step towards independence. It was also a great visit because Jessica won overall against 37 other participants!

Jessica has opened up to Sarah about certain issues in her life and Sarah has been able to offer advice on how Jessica can keep herself safe. For Jessica’s birthday in February, Sarah took her to Harry Potter World. It was a special time that enabled them to build memories together and strengthen their friendship. Sarah and Jessica both have Fitbit’s and have been encouraging each other in increasing their steps and being healthy.

Do you think you could provide a friendship like this to another young person in care? 

 

Requirements

One visit per month, lasting a minimum of 2 hours.  Minimum age 21 years old.

We require applicants who have good listening and communication skills, have some experience spending time with children and young people, and are fun, engaging and empathetic.

There will be an interview for shortlisted applicants and then two days induction training.  We require an enhanced DBS  check and two references, which we organise. Online Safeguarding Children Level 1 also needs to be completed.

Travel and Expenses

Travelling is a possibility and is discussed with you at interview, if you are unable to travel too far then we can match you with a young person at a suitable distance.  Your travel expenses will be covered by us and we provide an activity budget also.

There are some recording and reporting requirements so applicants will need to have the necessary skills and time to complete this aspect of the role.

Whilst volunteering you will learn new skills and find yourself participating in activities you never thought of trying before. You will also learn about risk assessing, safeguarding and how to be an effective listener. We provide ongoing support with regular supervision and peer support sessions. We also gather all young people and visitors for a fun day at least once a year. 

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times

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Volunteer opportunity location(s)

Volunteer opportunity locations map

About the organisation

Asphaleia

Contact:
Jeni Whitchurch
Project Coordinator
Organisation’s website:
http://www.asphaleia.co.uk/
Volunteer opportunity website:
http://www.asphaleia.co.uk
Learn more about this organisation:
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