People in Argyll and Bute 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 September 25, and Children’s Hearings Scotland has issued an urgent call for people who have compassion, empathy and the ability to listen to come forward.
The new panel members are needed to help vulnerable children and young people in the area, with 500 panel members being sought nationally.
Raymond Boyle, 44, from Bute, has been a member of the Children’s Panel for six years and is a postmaster. He applied to become a panel member to give something back to the local community.
Raymond said: “My wife showed an interest in the Children’s Panel, but at the time they needed more male than female applicants so I decided to go for it. I had a great childhood and I wanted to help those who aren’t necessarily as fortunate.”
Raymond believes that as well as bringing your own personal skills to the role, one benefit of being a panel member is that you gain skills through your involvement that can help enhance career prospects.
“The initial training is intense but you learn so much – not only about the Children’s Panel but also about yourself," Raymond said. "It allows you to challenge yourself and realise your limits or adopt new limits. Being a panel member enhances your knowledge and skills which can be transferred to both your working life and personal life. It is the only role I can think of that recruits people regardless of their walk of life or day job.
“If you are thinking of applying then go for it. It is so rewarding and you may even make new friends. When you see a child come out the other side smiling, it makes it all worthwhile.”
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 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 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 01546 604392 to speak to the Clerk to the Area Support Team.