A Children’s Panel member from Western Isles has helped to launch the search for new panel members in the region.
Tim Langley, 45, 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 (26 per cent) were from males* – a figure Children’s Hearings Scotland is keen to increase in 2017 to ensure each panel continues to have the right representation.
Tim, who works as a solicitor, decided to become a Panel Member when his colleague recommended the organisation to him, and said that they were recruiting for new Panel Members.
He said: “Being from England, I didn’t know much about Children’s Hearings Scotland until I came to work in Scotland and was made aware of the great work that the organisation does.
“I decided to volunteer to become a Panel Member because I believed that my background as a lawyer might bring a slightly different perspective to the hearings I attend. I knew that the hearings process would also help me to open my eyes and look at things from a different point of view.
“I’m much more open-minded now and have a greater understanding of people from all different walks of lives. These skills come in handy at work too, which is a real bonus.
“I would definitely encourage others to join the Children’s Panel. As long as a person is patient, understanding, and a good listener, I think they have the potential to make a great panel member. There’s nothing better than seeing a child turn their life around and fulfil their potential and feeling like you’ve played a small part in that. It’s such a worthwhile thing to do.”
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.
“What unites our volunteers is their genuine compassion and dedication. 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.
“For those interested in taking the next step, I’d encourage them to visit our recruitment website, or head along to one of the local information evenings being held across the country to meet other panel members and find out more about the commitment required.”
Applicants need to be 18 or over. The deadline for applications is 26 September 2017. To find out more about becoming a panel member, or to apply online visit: website