This role is often referred to as a ‘professional friendship’. Looked after children often lack the presence of consistent, stable adults. The mentor role – which is also known as the ‘Independent Visitor’ involves the volunteer meeting with the child/young person on a consistent and regular monthly basis for a period of two years. The meetings take place in the local community and include leisure based activities such as: going for something to eat, bowling, walking in the park, playing a sport together, going to the cinema. The role is informal, relaxed and fun.
Volunteers who carry out this role have the opportunity to make a difference in a child/young person’s life. Volunteers often say that they have learnt new skills through their communication with the young person. It can be a good career development opportunity for those wanting to gain experience of working with children/young people, a really interesting way to spend some of your retirement time or if you simply want to make an important contribution to your local community.
NYAS works under contract to the local authority who refer children/young people to the service. We have young people being referred on an ongoing basis and some (particularly young males) waiting for match. We are really keen to recruit male volunteers but females are equally encouraged to apply. You will always have a choice in who you are matched with and will receive training to prepare you for the role. The role is special and young people are endlessly impressed by people who choose to volunteer with them.
Whilst NYAS does not require volunteers to have the same levels of formal qualifications as salaried staff, volunteers must not be a local councillor or an employee of the children’s services of the local authority for whom NYAS provides volunteer services.
Experience & Knowledge:
Good measure of life skills
An understanding of children and young people in our society
An understanding of the impact of discrimination on individuals
Skills and Abilities
Good communication particularly with children and young people
Ability to promote the safety and welfare of children and young people
Ability to recognise and understand the values and behaviours of children and young people
Ability to receive and accept support and guidance
Ability to understand the circumstances of children looked after (in care) and children ‘in need’
Sensitivity to the needs and wishes of the child (or young person)
A commitment to children’s rights and welfare
Non judgemental approach
Reliability and punctuality
Sense of humour
A good level of physical and emotional health, so that you are able to meet the needs of the child appropriately
- Data Protection policy
- DBS check required
- Equal opportunities policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- Ongoing support
Yes, requirement to attend quarterly best practise meetings with other volunteers
- Suitable for under 18s
21 years and above
- Training provided
- Volunteer induction
- Volunteer policy
- Volunteers covered by insurance
- Written role description
When can I volunteer?
Volunteers will be required to commit to once a month for approximately 2 years.
This opportunity is available Countywide.
Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service
The Salvation Army, Hadleigh Farm Estate
The Art Ministry
English Heritage - Audley End House and Gardens
Alzheimers Society - Essex