A DEDICATED Tenbury Wells volunteer has received a regional award in recognition of his support for vulnerable young people.
Alastair Marchant is an independent visitor (IV) for children’s charity Barnardo’s and in recognition of his achievements, he has been awarded the Marsh Trust Volunteer of the Year Award for the Midlands and South West.
Independent visitors are befrienders who, for one day each month, invest their time in a young person in care.
The aim is to understand and support them through fun activities together in order to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Alastair started volunteering with the Barnardo’s Coventry and Warwickshire Children’s Rights Service in 2013 when he lived in Staffordshire and supported one of the charity’s out-of-county placements.
He moved to Tenbury Wells last year but wanted to continue in his role as an independent visitor despite the long distances.
The 37-year-old also used his skills from working in advertising to support the production of a film for the National IV Network in order to raise awareness of the needs of looked-after young people.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working as an independent visitor,” said Alastair.
“It’s great fun, and if it’s possible to bring something positive to someone less fortunate at the same time, it makes every minute worthwhile.
“I’m incredibly proud to win this award and hope it encourages more people to consider taking up the role.”
Alastair was nominated by Barnardo’s children’s services manager Gail Pajak who said he had been an invaluable member of the independent visitor service since he first joined.
“He has proved to be dedicated and reliable throughout the placement and the most recent evaluation from the young person said that he can’t wait for the next visit,” she added.
“Alastair also supported the launch of the newly-formed National IV Network and his involvement has been incredible.
“His volunteering is a tremendous example of what people can bring to a charity.”