At asphaleia we are proud to celebrate Volunteer's Week and say a big thank you to all of our volunteers who help us to make an impact on children and young people's lives by giving up their time.
Volunteers support us with our care services as well as our further education and training provision. They are dedicated and skilled individuals who truly make a difference to our organisation and our service users.
Our Independent Visiting service that we deliver for East Sussex County Council heavily relies on volunteers to support children and young people. An Independent Visitor is a volunteer befriender who visits the young person they are matched with monthly, usually on the weekend, to take them out to do an activity they enjoy.
As part of Volunteer Week, one of our IV's shares their experience and how their volunteering benefits their young person as well as being rewarding for themselves.
My name is Dean and I volunteer for asphaleia as an Independent Visitor (IV) for their IV service in East Sussex.
This involves meeting with a child or young person once a month as a friend and mentor, being someone they can share activities and time with on a one to one basis, separate and independent from paid professionals and staff within the care system.
Once a month, I meet an 11 year-old boy who has spent a great deal of his life in care and with foster families. We spend our time getting to know each other and sharing activities that he feels comfortable with and, most importantly, having fun!
He loves being outside and particularly enjoys going to the beach, rock-pooling and exploring. He can confide in me and knows that I am someone he can trust to be reliable and safe.
Spending time together gives me so much joy and I genuinely look forward to our monthly visits. In the short time we have known each other, I have watched his confidence grow, and in time, I hope to encourage him to try new activities and learn more about himself in an environment in which he feels comfortable.
He has told his friends about me and in return I have enjoyed some memorable and life affirming moments in his company, as well as learning about myself and some interesting facts about sea creatures! It really is the little things that make a big difference to a child’s life.
I am so glad I became a volunteer, it gives me a great deal of pleasure and I am well supported in my role. Additionally, his foster parents have some important respite when we are together.
To find out more about being a volunteer with asphaleia and to view our available roles, please click here.