Independent Visitor Scheme developments


The Independent Visitor Scheme is continuing to grow, with more young people being matched with an Independent Visitor. We are starting to see some very clear benefits for looked after young people in North Yorkshire.

Independent Visitors (IVs) are there to listen, offer one to one independent support and advice and go out and about to get involved with fun social and leisure activities.

The young people who are matched with IVs have been able to benefit by:

  • Getting involved in new and fun activities and experiences with their Independent Visitor – these have included going to an outdoor activity centre, watching a car rally, attending a football match, volunteering in an animal centre and hunting for fossils on the coast.
  • Building confidence in relationships by getting to know a committed and trustworthy adult.
  • Sharing interests and learning together about shared areas of interest.
  • Talking and sharing with someone independent who won’t judge and is able to offer emotional support and advice.
  • Reducing isolation, especially during periods where covid restrictions have meant that social opportunities have been reduced.
  • Signposting and referral to more specialist support where needed, particularly advocacy services.

We have been working to increase the number of male Independent Visitors available so that we have a more diverse pool of volunteers. We have had a good response to recent adverts which will place us in a better position to offer more choice to meet the needs of young people referred.

It is anticipated that referrals will increase in the next year as word about the benefits of the scheme continues to spread. It has now been agreed that the age range covered by the scheme will be increased to include young people aged 18 to 21 and this is also likely to lead to an increase in referrals. It is recognised that this age group may have a particular need for additional support as they go through many transitions associated with leaving care. It is hoped that some of these young people will be able to benefit from the extra consistent support that can be offered by an IV.