Independent Visitor (IV) Scheme


What is the Independent Visitor scheme?

The Independent Visitor (IV) scheme is a volunteer-led independent befriending and support service to young people aged 11-18 years old with care experience in the Belfast and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts, who have infrequent or poor quality contact with a parent or person with parental responsibility for them.

A young person is matched with their volunteer for a minimum of one year, although this can be extended with the agreement of the young person and their volunteer.


How do I become an Independent Visitor?

Independent Visitors are trained volunteers who provide support, encouragement and continuity of contact to young people.

When you become an Independent Visitor, you will commit to:

  • providing continuity to a young person who may have experienced a succession of care placements in his/her life;
  • working towards building a long term trusting and supportive relationship with the young person;
  • acting as a positive influence in the young person’s life by promoting the social, emotional, educational, physical and cultural development of young people who engage with the Scheme; and
  • supporting the young person to exercise their rights and participate in making decisions about their life. This can include attending Looked After Child (LAC) Reviews if appropriate.

To find out more about volunteering for the IV Scheme contact Laura or Lynsey on 028 9032 0157, you can can download our leaflet here or visit the volunteering section of our website here.

If I am a young person, how can I access support from an Independent Visitor?

If you are a young person, you can be referred to the IV Scheme after it is discussed and agreed at your LAC Review.

For more information on the scheme you can download our leaflet here.


I am a professional, how do I refer a young person to the Independent Visitor scheme?

If you are a professional making a referral, please contact the IV Project Worker on 028 9032 0157 to discuss how the scheme can support a young person.

For more information on the scheme you can download our leaflet here or contact us.