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The work of the National Independent Visitor Network (NIVN) has been funded over the past two-years by the Tudor Trust and Barnardo’s.  As this period of funding draws to a close, we publish the final evaluation report of progress we have made and recommendations for our work going forwards. The report evaluates both the work that has been done against our key project objectives and unanticipated activity in response to the pandemic.

The report was compiled by external evaluator Sophie Wellings and included telephone and online interviews with Independent Visitor professionals and a survey of wider NIVN members.  Thanks to all those who took the time to participate in this exercise and to the ongoing commitment of Sophie who has collaborated with NIVN since it was first established in 2014.

As a good practice and influencing network of Independent Visitor professionals, we are particularly proud of the sustained levels of peer support, collaboration and innovation in the face of the unprecedented challenge the health pandemic has presented.  We share below a concluding comment and quote from an IV professional:

In many ways the period of restrictions has served to highlight the strengths of the network that were part of the reason for its conception. Staff involved in delivering IV 61 services often work in isolation and within a service that many feel lacks recognition. The network shines a spotlight on their work and allows them to benefit from the peer support of others in the same position. Covid-19 had the potential to increase that sense of isolation as it pulled people back from their communities. Having the regional groups online, access to Huddle, virtual events and the NIVN team in regular contact, sharing ideas and appearing at regional meetings allowed network members to continue to reach out, support, lean on and learn from each other.

“The network has always been so helpful to me. It helps me to feel less like an island in my local authority and members are so generous in sharing best practice. I don’t know what I would do without it.”

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