The start of the school holidays is traditionally when children get to enjoy activities and days out with friends and family.

Whether it’s going to the seaside or playing football in a park, we believe every child deserves to feel happy and safe this summer and all year round.

However, at Barnardo’s, we know from our direct experience of supporting children growing up in care that many are prone to feeling cut off and isolated, with around a fifth (19 per cent) saying they feel lonely always or often. 

Since 2014, Barnardo’s has been proud to host the National Independent Visitor Network (NIVN).

This network of befriending services work together to ensure more children can access their legal right to a trained befriender, known as an independent visitor or IV. Independent visitors are separate from children’s social care services, and can act as positive role models, building trusting, stable relationships with children and young people over time.

But very few children in care receive this support – a recent Freedom of Information request made by NIVN to all local authorities in England and Wales reveals just over three per cent of all children in care in England are matched with an independent visitor.


Director, Barnardo’s South East