Becoming an Independent Visitor has allowed me to help build the confidence of others, but it has also helped me more than I thought it would
What I loved most when I worked in Widening Participation was the interaction with young people and students. Delivering programmes where you could visibly see the confidence grow over a matter of days was and is so rewarding. When I moved into my new role, I knew I wanted to continue supporting young people and in particular care experience young people.
So I became an Independent visitor for NIACRO’s Independent visitor scheme. Being an independent visitor means that I get to spend time with a young person -- I will call her Helen -- for a few hours every other week.
The majority of care experienced young people have to cope with constant change
Care Experienced young people have many adults ‘involved’ in their lives including social workers and other social care and medical professionals. Once they are in the ‘care system’ they face settling into a new family, potentially a new school and having to make new friends. The majority of care experienced young people have to cope with constant change, whether that be home, social worker or school… take a moment to think about that… think about what it must be like to explain your life story and get to know and try to trust numerous strangers on a regular basis… My friend over in Liverpool started fostering a baby at 9 months old, he is now two years old, in that time the baby has had eight social workers!
It has been great getting to know her and building up a trust and friendship
Helen and I have shared some great times, theatre visits, eaten out loads and she’s opened up a new world of cinema to me! It has been great getting to know her and building up a trust and friendship. During lockdown, because we were not able to go anywhere I kept in contact by posting wee surprises to her: books, sweets and even afternoon tea! Everyone loves a surprise in the post!
I love being an independent visitor, being able to share good experiences is a wonderful gift, it's proof that positive relationships are so important no matter how young or old you are. I know that Helen has built in confidence and self-esteem, I can see and hear it! It is a privilege to be a part of Helen’s life and I hope the memories we have created together stay as long with her as they will with me.
Mental Health issues can affect anyone at any time. But confidential, professional help is available through the University.
To find out more, click the button below: