A Children’s Panel member from the Capital has helped launch the search for new panel members in the city.
Patrick Lawrence, 65, has spoken of how rewarding the unique volunteering role can be, as someone who has been a panel member for three years.
The national Children’s Panel, Scotland’s largest lay tribunal, improves outcomes for vulnerable children and young people who are in need of care and protection or who have offended.
Figures highlight that, on average, over the last three years, a quarter of the total applications received were from men – a figure Children’s Hearings Scotland is keen to increase in 2017 to ensure each panel continues to have balanced Ex-pilot representation.
Information evenings will be held throughout September at the City Chambers and people keen on becoming members are urged to attend.
Patrick, a retired pilot, applied to become a panel member because he wanted to give something back to the community, and get involved in a volunteering role which helped children.
He said: “I had been aware of the Children’s Panel for years, and after doing some research I decided that it would be the most fulfilling area for me to do some volunteer work. Being a panel member has reshaped my view of the world and given me an education in the difficulties that some people face.
“The training, which continues throughout your time as a panel member, teaches you interpersonal skills, logical and analytical thinking, conflict management skills and how to run successful meetings: all useful and transferable skills.
“Although some hearings can be challenging, you mostly see successful outcomes, which lift the spirits and make being a panel member a very rewarding role. I would highly recommend the role to anyone who cares about the welfare of children and young people, and their families, in their community.”
There are currently over 2,500 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 support.
This year, Children’s Hearings Scotland is also keen to hear from those interested in supporting the work of the panel through becoming a volunteer Area Support Team member. Boyd McAdam, National Convener and Chief Executive of Children’s Hearings Scotland said: “The motivations of our panel volunteers are all different. For some, it is the desire to give something back. For others, it’s about being able to help a child or young person who is facing challenges in their life, or about making a valuable contribution to their community.
“We need people from all backgrounds to make sure we continue to help change the lives of those children and young people who attend children’s hearings for the better.”