Volunteers Week 2021: Meet Ben

It’s Volunteers Week and to showcase some of the amazing work our volunteers do, we’d like to share Ben’s story.

Ben* was 10 years old when he met our volunteer. He lived in foster care with his female foster carer and her mother. Ben’s social worker made a referral into our Independent Visitor service, as Ben wished to have a male influence in his life. Ben has been diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD.

What is an Independent Visitor (IV)?

An Independent Visitor is a volunteer who befriends a young person in care. It is an increasingly vital and valuable role that can make a positive difference to a child’s life.

What our IV did

Our IV introduced Ben to the local stables for horse riding where he would go two times per week. They also encouraged him to join the Air Cadets, and a youth club. The IV initially took him out twice a month, increasing to three times a month shortly after. Since the pandemic, Ben has continued to move between children’s homes and foster carers, his only constant has been our IV. Over the years they have played football, swimming and occasionally diving; watching ice hockey; cinema; clothes shopping; playing badminton and much more.

Volunteer Feedback

Our volunteer said:

“During the initial contacts, Ben found it hard to trust me and lacked confidence in trying new activities. However, he did gain more confidence, for example, by attending a diving session where he eventually showed no fears in jumping from the 10 metre board. He also learned to trust that I wasn’t reporting back to people all the things he was saying or doing whilst out on visits. Over 4 years we have developed a close relationship. To the extent that with all the changes of placement and phone numbers over the past 18 months, Ben always answers my texts and/or phone calls. Whilst we haven’t been able to see each other very often and certainly haven’t been able to do activities [because of the pandemic] nevertheless we have retained a good relationship and retain trust and respect.”

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