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'BUDDIES' FOR CHILDREN IN LOCAL AUTHORITY CARE SOUGHT

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Caring young men and women in Doncaster are being asked to become 'buddies' to children in local authority care. ...
Caring young men and women in Doncaster are being asked to become 'buddies' to children in local authority care.

Sympathetic volunteers are needed by the Doncaster Independent Visitors scheme to befriend and advise children who live in a residential or foster home and have little or no contact with their parents.

The scheme is appealing for potential candidates, in particular those aged between 18 and 30 years of age.

Doncaster Independent Visitors co-ordinator Joan Darrand said: 'Independent visitors are regarded as adult friends who share children's interests and activities, support them through difficult times, help them have their voice heard, help with social, educational and cultural needs or just simply to be there.

'Visitors do not need any formal qualifications or experience but should relate well to children and have a genuine interest in the welfare of young people. A friendly, outgoing personality, enthusiasm, patience and a sense of humour are good qualities to have. But most importantly, an independent visitor should be reliable and committed to visiting the child regularly and long term.

'For some children, earlier relationships with adults have ended in disillusionment. The establishment of a trusting relationship will form one of the main elements of the befriending role. This could be a slow process and will require patient understanding.'

Volunteers are asked to complete an application form and to provide two references. A police check is also undertaken.

Induction training sessions are held prior to a final interview before a volunteer is appointed - with the next sessions due to take place in September. A careful 'match' is then made between the visitor and a young person. A child's wishes are taken into account when finding a suitable visitor and these may include a shared interest, culture or racial background.

Visitors have their out of pocket expenses paid and ongoing support and advice on an individual and group basis are available if needed. In addition, further training sessions and social events are provided at regular intervals.

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