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Independent Visitor (IV)

Could you offer friendship and support to a child or young person in care?

Volunteer as an Independent Visitor in London, and you could make a real difference to a young person’s life. Children and young people in care often experience several changes of carers and social workers. Having a consistent adult presence in their life helps them know that someone is there just for them.

What is an Independent Visitor?

Volunteers are known as​‘Independent Visitors’ because this role isn’t part of the care system. You’ll be an independent, impartial adult, giving your time to listen to their needs and worries, enjoy fun activities together, and build a lasting relationship they can count on - even if where they live or who is looking after them changes.

It’s been such a rewarding, enjoyable relationship and I’ve loved watching my young person grow in confidence and maturity over the last three years.

Ella, Independent Visitor with VoiceAbility

Can I be an Independent Visitor?

You need to be over 18, and able to offer long-term support to a child or young person in the Waltham Forest area. You could be from this area, or able to travel regularly into this area.

This role normally lasts for at least 18 months. 

You’ll go through a DBS check, and we’ll provide training and support to help you feel confident in the role. Then, once you’ve been selected, we’ll match you with a child or young person who shares, for example, similar interests with you.

We’re looking for all kinds of people to volunteer their time, but we especially welcome applications from Black men and trans people.

If you’d like to find out more, call us on 0300 303 1660 or email

What does an Independent Visitor do?

An Independent Visitor is there to:

  • support the child/​young person with opportunities to experience things that are enriching for their own personal and cultural development 
  • do activities or pursue hobbies 
  • meet in a café or have a meal out
  • listen to the child/​young person
  • help the child/​young person develop their social skills and participate in their community 
  • take time to build a positive relationship which will help the child/​young person to feel safe and secure

I like spending time with my IV as he’s really knowledgeable, which is great. We went to Winter Wonderland which was really good.

RS, young person

What’s in it for me?

Volunteering as an Independent Visitor can be incredibly rewarding. You’re creating life-enhancing experiences for a young person who won’t have had the best start in life. The impact you have on them will be lasting and powerful.

Make a referral for an Independent Visitor

Children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18 years old can be referred to the Independent Visitor service, or they can refer themselves.

I think everyone should be told how good it is so that other young people can benefit.

Lorraine, foster carer

If you’d like to refer yourself, or refer a child or young person you’re working with for an Independent Visitor, please contact us by calling 0300 303 1660 or emailing