Opening of new Children’s Hearings centre

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A new facility for vulnerable children and young people has been officially opened in Stornoway.

The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) has moved to a new home in the town which houses the Reporter’s office and the Children’s Hearings centre.

The new building was officially opened by Norman Macdonald, Convenor of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar on Friday, June 3rd.

More than 25 local partners attended the event, as well as young people who had been involved in designing the interior of the Hearings centre.

Children’s Hearings for the Western Isles are held in the Hearings centre which is now based in James Square, close to the town centre.

Each year around 150 Children’s Hearings are held in the Western Isles for children and young people who are in need of care and protection.

Senior Operational Manager for the North West Area, Alistair Hogg, said: “Our staff are committed to delivering a first class service to children, young people and families, and they now have a first class facility in Stornoway.

“Providing accommodation for Children’s Hearings is one of SCRA’s core functions and our new office and Hearings Centre provides modern, fit for purpose facilities for children,

young people and families attending Hearings, and for our staff and Panel Members.”

The new building has a welcoming reception area, two waiting rooms, a large Hearing room and office/meeting space.

SCRA’s Senior Practitioner Erica Murray, who is based in the new office, said: “Young people who have experience of the Hearings System helped us design the new building.

“They wanted a welcoming and tranquil place and we hope that’s what we have created.

“We’ve had really positive feedback about the new building. It is modern and family friendly, and the colours and furnishings help to create a warm and calm environment.”

Opening the new facility, Councillor Macdonald said the right environment could help children, young people and families better participate in their Hearings, he said: “This is a fantastic new facility and a significant improvement on before.

“The moment you walk through the door, it instantly has a calming and welcoming effect.

“It is important during difficult discussions like Children’s Hearings, where sensitive issues are being discussed, that the environment helps create the right atmosphere.

“This is a great new facility for not just children and families, but for the staff and volunteers involved in the Children’s Hearings System.”

Pictured (left to right) are Rhona Maclean, Locality Support Manager, SCRA, Councillor Norman Macdonald, Erica Murray, Senior Practitioner, SCRA and Alistair Hogg, Senior Operational Manager, SCRA.

Image courtesy of Rod Huckbody.