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Independent visitor scheme

Independent visitors (IVs) are adult volunteers who provide independent, one-to-one befriending support to children in care. Their role is to “visit, advise and befriend” the young person with whom they are matched.

The 1989 Children Act made it a duty for Local Authorities to provide IVs for those young people living in care who have little or no contact from their parents or family. In 2008, the Children and Young Person’s Act extended this duty so that any young person in care could be eligible to have an IV, if considered to be in their best interests.


Young people in care can often experience disruption in their lives. An IV is a trusted adult from outside the care system who can offer consistent, long-term support throughout the time a young person is in care.

Young people are matched with IVs on the basis of their interests and needs. Once an IV is appointed, they can be expected to visit and spend young person-centred quality time with the young person with whom they are matched, approximately once every three-four weeks, or whatever has been agreed. The support of an IV can continue until the young person leaves the care system.


If you are a young person in the care of Wiltshire Council, or you know someone placed in care by Wiltshire who might benefit from this service, please talk with the social worker who is involved. You can also get in touch with the scheme manager to find out more on 01225 713934 or 07733 303124, or email sheila.lupton@wiltshire.gov.uk.


If you are interested in volunteering to join our team of IVs, please contact the scheme manager on 01225 713934 or 07733 303124, or email sheila.lupton@wiltshire.gov.uk. You will be sent an information pack and be informed of the recruitment process. 

No formal qualifications are required to become an IV, although potential volunteers must meet the person specification and role description requirements for the role. All volunteers are recruited in line with safer recruitment policy and are required to obtain clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

If you are successful in being appointed as an IV, you will become part of a committed team of volunteers who have the opportunity to meet up together on a regular basis. You will also benefit from:

  • The opportunity to develop new skills
  • Training and ongoing support
  • The satisfaction of making a significant contribution to the lives of looked after young people

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Last updated: 19 November 2018 | Last reviewed: 19 November 2018