Three dedicated Barnardo’s volunteers have been presented with long-service awards in recognition of their support of vulnerable children.
Sarah Tennent, Anita Collins and Louise Elie have worked as Independent Visitors at Barnardo’s for five years each.
An independent visitor is a volunteer who is carefully matched with a young person that is in care who they can build a positive, consistent and supportive relationship with. They will generally stay with their young person over a number of years and activities will be tailored to the young person such as walks in the park, going to the cinema or playing football.
Sarah Tennent from Milton Keynes has been an independent visitor for an 18 year old female since 2012.
“I believe that every child and young person has the right to have someone in their lives to listen to them, support and motivate them and remind them of their strengths,” she said.
“Being an Independent Visitor is extremely rewarding and has taught me about how important the values of determination, kindness and forgiveness are.”
The young person that Sarah is an Independent Visitor for added: “Through all the hard stuff I’ve been through, Sarah has been there through everything. She has seen me change since I was young and has been there when I needed to cry and in general. I got someone who felt like a sister, and she dropped everything for me when needed.”
The awards marked Volunteers’ Week earlier this month, which celebrated the contribution of millions of people who volunteer in their local communities across the country.
Barnardo’s is taking the opportunity to thank its 20,000-strong army of amazing volunteers as well as everyone who has given their time to support the charity.
Anita Collins from Milton Keynes is also receiving an award. She was an Independent visitor up until 2015, supporting a young female until she turned 18 years old.
Anita now works at Barnardo’s Shortbreaks service in Stony Stratford where she provides support to young people accessing the Caldecotte outdoor activities centre.
Tony Sleight, team manager at the Milton Keynes Children and Young People Service said:
“I am delighted to be presenting these volunteers with their much deserved awards. The time they give up to share with these young people is invaluable and I know that as well as the benefits to the young people, they get a lot out of it too.
“We have a waiting list of young people who would like to have an independent visitor so if anyone is interested in finding out more then please do get in touch.”