Could you help troubled and vulnerable children?

Would you like to do something to help young people who are going through a difficult time?

Children’s Hearings Scotland is searching for new Children’s Panel members in East Dunbartonshire and they are appealing to local people to come forward.

The Children’s Panel, which is unique to Scotland, improves outcomes for troubled or at risk children and young people who are in need of care or who have offended.

They need 2,500 volunteer panel members across Scotland who will attend children’s hearings. However, new recruits from a range of backgrounds are needed each year to ensure the system continues to offer the best possible support.

Children’s Hearings Scotland, the body responsible for the recruitment, training and support of panel members, urged those who have compassion, the ability to listen and an interest in the welfare of children and young people within their community to apply before the September 30 deadline.

Men in particular are needed, to ensure hearings have the right representation as law requires both men and women to sit on each hearing.

Boyd McAdam, National Convener and Chief Executive, Children’s Hearings Scotland said: “Volunteers are essential to the success of the Children’s Hearings System.

“Serving on the national Children’s Panel is a big commitment, but we know from speaking with panel members that they get as much out of it as they put in. Each hearing involves our volunteers making decisions which can help change the life of a child or young person who is in need of help. Although difficult at times, it can be hugely rewarding.

“We welcome applications from anyone who feels empathy towards the situations some children and young people in Scotland face. We provide the training to help you have the skills - what we need is your time, your commitment and your compassion. The training is rightly demanding, but is also rewarding. As I can testify, having undertaken it, it can be fun and sociable as well.

“There is no such thing as an ideal panel member. We need a mix of ages from 18 upwards, and from a variety of backgrounds. We also need a mix of both males and females to ensure that the national Children’s Panel has a variety of experiences and perspectives. If you think you have what it takes, then I’d encourage you to apply.”

Applicants need to be 18 or over. The deadline for applications is September 30. To find out more about becoming a panel member, visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org.