Independent Visitor Scheme

A befriending scheme for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 17 years old.

1 Overview

The West Sussex Independent Visitor Scheme is a befriending scheme for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 17 years old who are looked after by the local authority and who will not be returning home.

Independent visitors are not professional care workers. They are adult volunteers who enjoy spending time with children and young people.

They are matched with a particular child and visit them once a month, building up a friendship with them and doing things together which the child or young person enjoys. This can be going for a bike ride, having a chat over a hot chocolate, watching a film together, visiting a museum - whatever the child is interested in and wants to do.

Most visits naturally take place at weekends or in school holidays when children are free.

More information can be found on theĀ National Independent Visitor Network website.

If you are a young person interested in having an Independent Visitor you can find out more on Your Space.

2 Become a volunteer

To apply to the Independent Visitor Scheme, you have to be at least 21 years of age.

In order to be truly independent, you or your partner cannot work in children's social care in West Sussex, and cannot be elected members.

Applicants need to be able to commit to being an independent visitor for at least two years. Children in care need that sort of continuity and ideally the relationship becomes a genuine friendship that will continue informally after the young person leaves care at the age of 18.

We welcome applications and enquiries at all times and hold virtual information events from time to time. This page will be updated with details of the events as they become available. We will also directly inform anyone who has expressed an interest.

The full recruitment process involves checks and references, training and an in-depth assessment, so please be aware it can take some time to complete.

Apply online (external link)

Additional information

3 Email us

Last updated:
17 May 2024
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.