This Volunteers Week (1-7 June), the charity Coram Voice is calling for volunteers in Swindon to become ‘Independent Visitors’ and befriend and support children in care in the area. Coram Voice, a charity that supports children and young people in and around the care system, works in partnership with Swindon Borough Council to provide an Independent Visiting service for children aged between 8 and 18 in the care of the local authority. Independent Visitors are volunteers who provide a reliable and consistent point of contact for a child who is isolated and has limited or no family contact. The volunteers meet with a young person regularly, undertaking activities and outings to help them build their confidence and self-esteem. Activities can include bowling, the cinema or sports, depending on the age and interests of the young person. Volunteers are there to listen to any issues or concerns the young person wants to discuss. Through the Independent Visiting service, volunteers enjoy the challenge and rewarding experience of building a lasting friendship with a child in care, and the children benefit greatly from a constant, fun relationship with someone independent from the care system. Cllr Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Many children who come into the care of the council do so having experienced significant loss or trauma in their lives and it can be an incredibly unsettling time. “Although the council provides an enormous amount of support for these young people, many looked after children would like to have an adult in their lives who is not paid to be there like their social worker or foster carer. “The Independent Visiting service fills that void and is rewarding for both the children and the volunteers taking part. If you would like to make a real difference to a child in care please do get in touch with Coram Voice.” Debbie, a current Independent Visitor for Coram Voice in Swindon said: “Being an Independent Visitor is so rewarding, and you get to do new things that you probably wouldn’t have done before. You can help them through their ups and downs and support them to come out the other side feeling proud of themselves.” Another local volunteer, Jessica added: “It’s a very important role, to be there listening to them, encouraging them and giving advice if asked. A couple of the young people I worked with have gone onto having good careers and I am very proud to think I may have helped them to achieve this in a very small way.” Independent Visiting is a long-term, one to one commitment. Volunteers must be over 18 and will be subject to enhanced police checks. Full training and ongoing support will be given, and out of pocket expenses will be paid for mileage and activities. For more information, please visit www.coramvoice.org.uk.