Here4me is our project in Berkshire. We provide volunteer Independent Visitors and Advocates for children and young people in care, and mentors for identified children in need
Independent Visitors service
All looked after young people are entitled to an independent visitor to take a long-term interest in the their life, sometimes over several years, befriending and supporting them, often through changes in placement and within the team of helping professionals that work with them.
Independent Visitors are diverse, unique, dynamic individuals who commit to spending a few hours a month visiting a young person with the hope of building a long term friendship based on shared interests.
Advocates support young people to ensure their thoughts, wishes and feelings are heard when decisions are being made about their future.
Advocacy is offered to children and young people for complaints, at reviews and other meetings where decisions are made about their lives, to enable them to give their thoughts, wishes and feelings.
The Advocate can help them express themselves and negotiate issues without getting angry or upset, and later feel more able to cope in these situations without support.
For children and young people in need, we feel that providing a mentor can sometimes help to prevent them coming into care by giving the child an outlet for their feelings, a positive role model, and an opportunity to strengthen coping mechanisms.
Mentoring is a short-term relationship, typically for around twelve months.