Exhibition launched to boost volunteers to support young people

Mayor of Birmingham addressing crowd Published: 19th Nov 2021

Birmingham Children’s Trust launch new exhibition to raise awareness of volunteer roles to support children and young people in the city.

Community leaders, businesses and partners of the Trust were invited this week to attend the opening of the ‘BFF’ Exhibition. Leaders were joined by children and young people.

The red-carpet event highlighted the positive impact an Independent Visitor can have on a young person in care.

Jake Shaw, Head of Rights and Participation and Corporate Parenting at the Trust, hosted an on-stage interview on the night with Independent Visitors and young people about the difference it can make to children in care.

Jake said: “Every child in care has the right to have an Independent Visitor, which is someone to build a relationship, take them out and have fun.

“For some children and young people in care, their only adult influences are professionals, such as foster carers, social workers or teachers. An independent visitor can act as a role model and friend outside the system.

“The role of an Independent Visitor is to provide continuity to the young person and be a positive and supportive influence while encouraging them to make their own decisions about their life.

“Currently there is a national shortage of volunteers to support children and young people, and we hope with this event we can highlight the importance of the role and bring in new Independent Visitors in Birmingham.”

Man on stage talking into microphone

Jake Shaw, Head of Rights and Participation and Corporate Parenting at the Trust

Held at Gallery Church in the Jewellery Quarter, the exhibition was opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Muhammad Afzal. Presentations were also provided by Cabinet Member for Vulnerable Children and Families, Councillor Sharon Thompson, and the Chief Executive of the Trust, Andy Couldrick.

Over 70 guests attended the launch, including the Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, Deborah Cadman. A follow-up event will happen this week, with question and answer sessions for those considering volunteering for the role of an Independent Visitor.

Anyone over the age of 18 can sign up be an Independent Visitor. There are no qualifications needed and full training is provided. For those that sign up expenses for activities and travel will be covered.

To find out more, email: volunteer@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk or apply via the website