People in Tayside are being urged to consider applying to become a Children’s Panel member as the application deadline approaches.
Applications for this year’s recruitment drive must be completed by 25 September and Children’s Hearings Scotland has issued an urgent call for people who have compassion, empathy and the ability to listen to come forward.
In Tayside, 28 new panel members are needed to help vulnerable children and young people in the area, with 500 panel members being sought nationally.
David Robertson, 22, from Dundee, has just completed his first year as a member of the Children’s Panel.
David is an assistant manager at a local restaurant and applied to become a panel member after he heard a radio advert appealing for applicants.
He said: “I had based my sixth year dissertation on youth justice and it brought the Children’s Panel to my attention. I went on to study law at University and wanted to do some kind of volunteering work. The Children’s Panel was the ideal opportunity as it tied in well with my degree and allowed me to help people in my community.”
David’s employers have been very supportive of his role on the Children’s Panel and through his experience David has enhanced many of the skills required in his job.
He said: “Since becoming a panel member, I have become more understanding of people and how to deal with difficult situations. I see people from all different walks of life and I am better equipped at communicating with them. I treat everyone well as they may be going through a hard time and even a smile can brighten someone’s day.
“The Children’s Panel gives you the opportunity to help guide children to a better path and make a positive difference to their lives. The training is second to none and there is a great support network around you. It broadens your horizons and encourages you to think differently about situations. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain being a panel member.”
The Children’s Panel is Scotland’s largest legal tribunal and aims to improve outcomes for troubled or at risk children and young people who are in need of care or who have offended.
There are currently 2500 volunteer panel members across Scotland, however new recruits from a range of backgrounds are needed each year to ensure the system continues to offer the best possible support.
Applicants need to be 18 or over. No qualifications are required and full training is provided. To find out more about becoming a panel member please visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org where you can apply online, or call 01738 475 168 to speak to the Clerk to the Area Support Team.