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As we reflect on 2023, the National Independent Visitor Network (NIVN) stands proud.

As a network, we’ve achieved significant milestones in our mission of improving access to high quality IV services for children in care across England and Wales. Take a look at some of our 2023 highlights below:

A square image with different achivements as part of the NIVN 2023 Impact Report.

Lived Experience Advisory Group Sessions

In 2023, NIVN worked to further incorporate the voice of those with lived experience of the IV relationship with the launch of our new Advisory Group. This group has met a whopping six times since its inception in June! These sessions saw the participation of 12 engaged volunteers from across England and Wales, and many fruitful discussions.

The insights gained from these sessions have been invaluable in shaping NIVN’s work and ensuring the organization remains responsive to the needs of those it serves. Most recently, they’ve spoken about what makes them feel valued by their service, and plans to hold a virtual volunteer recognition event next year. Stay tuned!

Volunteer Engagement and Connection

One 2023 highlight was the launch of the Volunteers’ Newsletter in July, connecting over 200 volunteers to NIVN. This initiative not only strengthened the sense of community among IV volunteers but also served as a platform for disseminating crucial information and fostering a collaborative spirit amongst a previously untapped audience for NIVN.

Partnership with Praxis Collab

September marked a significant milestone for NIVN with the establishment of a new external evaluation partnership with Praxis Collab. Over the next 18 months, they will also act as our learning partner, helping to expand our research and evaluation work!

Campaign Action by the Children’s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner of England wrote to the eight local authorities with fewer than five matched children. This was a big step towards holding those local authorities who aren’t upholding their statutory duty of offering IV to all children in their care.

In-Person and Virtual Conference

This year, NIVN brought together 110 members for two in-person and virtual conferences held in September and November respectively. The events featured a heartwarming presentation by a young person and his IV, as well as presentations from two other young people. We’re really pleased with the increased voice of young people in this year’s conference, leading to a reaffirming day for the volunteers and professionals that attended. A big highlight of 2023 for sure!

Training Principles Reflective Sessions

Seven reflective sessions on NIVN’s Training Principles were held this year, with over 200 Independent Visitor professionals actively participating. These sessions enabled professionals to refine their volunteer induction training through sharing good practice between different schemes.

Consultative Workshops with Children and Young People

This year, NIVN held a total of seven workshops with children and young people. These sessions consulted on the creation of an NIVN Instagram page and creating promotional digital content. One example is our recent cartooning sessions with James Parsons of Crazy Comic Club. We’re working to create a 15 second Tiktok video/Instagram reel/Youtube short to promote the IV role to children under 13.

Regional and Wales (RAW!) Group Meetings

The year 2023 witnessed the convening of 29 RAW group meetings, with one brand new group established in East England. These meetings served as vital platforms for collaboration, idea exchange, and collective action at the regional level. Thank you to all of our members that chaired, took minutes and participated in all of these meetings. You’re all stars!

Conclusion

It’s been a busy year as usual, and we’re really proud of what we’ve collectively achieved in 2023. Here’s to 2024!

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