The County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “Just a few hours each week could make a world of difference to a child or young person in Hampshire. Our volunteers perform an important role, complementing our care professionals. They find it incredibly rewarding to share their life skills and experience to help a young person overcome personal difficulties, succeed at school, or improve their self-esteem – and those they support often thrive with their input.”
Volunteers can choose to become a mentor, working one-to-one with a young person needing guidance, and provide support to parents and carers to improve family relationships and prevent breakdown. They can also ,offer support to families of children who have been permanently excluded from school or volunteer with the youth offending team to reduce harm and help to reintegrate young offenders back into the community.
The County Council is particularly looking for volunteers to conduct interviews with young people who have been reported missing but have returned.
All volunteers receive a full training programme where they learn how to appropriately support and guide young people and families. Volunteers themselves are supported and supervised by volunteer coordinators who are on hand to offer help and guidance whenever needed.
Volunteer Wendie said one of her highlights has been working with a teenager who was seldom able to leave his house.
“After a month of building the trust between us, he agreed to come out with me. This was a huge milestone for us both and one I won’t ever forget.”
Volunteer Anne described her training as a “very positive experience”. She added: "The co-ordinators are so supportive. It has been a privilege to spend time with my fellow volunteers, who have such a wide range of experience. The whole focus is on building knowledge, skills and confidence – and it’s great to be able to use these to support a young person who needs help.”