Volunteers needed to help youngsters
Ahead of national Volunteers’ Week in June, a scheme that supports Doncaster children in care is asking more people to join them – and to have some fun along the way.
The Independent Visitors Service (IVS), run by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, currently has 43 volunteers who help 46 young people – but says there are more waiting in the wings and that more men are particularly needed to support teenage boys.
Children and their volunteers meet up once a month for a couple of hours, to take part in fun activities and to give the children a chance to talk about any issues they have.
The meet-ups offer the chance for child and volunteer to build up a positive and consistent relationship.
Teacher Adele Saywell has been a volunteer for ten years, during which time she has helped guide one young person into adulthood and has been linked with her second young person for the past five years.
“I have seen him grow from being a very shy 12 year-old into a confident teenager. We have a great relationship.”
She says the scheme works two ways – not only helping the young people but also giving something to the volunteers.
“Getting involved in the Independent Visitors Service has helped me to see children and young people from a totally different perspective to how I see them in the classroom,” she says.
Local businessman Dave Harle joined the scheme a year ago – one of the few men volunteers.
He said he found he was missing spending time with and supporting young people after he retired as a school governor.
“Through the Independent Visitor scheme, I am linked with a 14-year-old young man who shares a love of badminton, pool – and shopping!”
“I just want to be there as a consistent role model, who is willing to listen to him and support him in whatever he wants to do,” said Dave.
In addition to spending time with their young person, the monthly meet-up of volunteers with scheme coordinator Sue Wakefield, gives them a chance for continued training and a chance to support each other.
“We would love to hear from more adults who have a genuine interest in helping our young people. We particularly need more men to join us,” said Sue, who has been with the scheme for ten years.
“It is very rewarding. We have some volunteers whose young people have stayed in contact with them well into adulthood and many young people say they see their volunteer as family.
Volunteers' Week runs between 1 and 7 June.
“Volunteers only need to give up a couple of hours a month to spend time with a young person – and they can have great fun getting involved in all sorts of activities, from bowling to boating and cycling to cinema trips.”
Sue can be contacted on 01302 734414 or email: Sue.Wakefield@dcstrust.co.uk