Independent Visitor Volunteering is Time Well Spent

Caroline Lee is an Independent Visitor (IV) for NYAS, the National Youth Advocacy Service. NYAS is a leading rights-based charity that ensures children and young people are fully respected, represented and supported in expressing their views and having their rights upheld.

In this week’s column, Caroline gives a first hand account of her volunteering experience.

I provide support and friendship to a young person in care. Every young person in care is entitled to an IV and the NYAS IV programme matches volunteers with young people. The visits are just a few hours once a month, and it is flexible around other commitments.

I was looking for a meaningful voluntary role that didn’t need a huge time commitment and I wanted to do something that made a difference. At the time I hadn’t heard of NYAS or the IV scheme but found the advert when I searched for local volunteering roles. I applied over a year ago and was matched once the application process and DBS check was complete. There was an initial meeting to make sure my young person felt comfortable with me and then we started the visits.

We have had a lot of fun and have formed a strong bond; we both really look forward to the visits and we have managed to do a lot of activities. What we do depends on the time of year but has included cinema, theatre, ice skating, bowling, pizza and trips to the seaside. When we meet, we talk about what we would like to do at the next visit, and I try to come up with ideas for new activities. As an IV, I receive a budget for each visit with my young person, and this can be claimed back.

I always expected to enjoy the role, but it has surprised me just how much I love it. It has felt very special to build the relationship I have with my young person, and I feel lucky to have this opportunity to do something useful while having so much fun.

If you can spare the time once a month, I would strongly recommend becoming an Independent Visitor. I can’t think of a more worthwhile and enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with NYAS, visit or call 0808 808 1001.