Could you give a foster child a chance to have fun, be a positive role model and provide a supportive friendship?

The Independent Visitor (IV) service in Croydon supports children who are looked after by the local authority. A team of four recruit, train, manage and support volunteers to make a positive difference to a child or young person’s life.

An IV does what the young person wants to do, travelling with them on cinema trips, cycling in the park, days out in London or Brighton, an ice cream or a burger – but they’re really there to listen, to chat and to care. 

They might meet a child in Thornton Heath, central Croydon or further afield.

IVs also benefit young refugees and asylum seekers, helping them integrate, be heard, feel welcomed and learn about living in Croydon, London, and England! 

The team of volunteers recently won the Mayor’s Civic Award for contributing to a Fairer Croydon.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Catherine Pestano said: “Our children like quiet people and bouncy people, so there is no one type that we look for. We particularly welcome men and people from BAME communities, so that we can reflect the diversity of our young people. 

“At the moment our IVs range in age from 18 to 80. You need to be in a good place yourself in life, so that you can provide consistent and reliable support for a child. Financial issues are not a barrier to volunteering, as we pay for travel and all expenses after training.”

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