New Children’s Panel members sought

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People in Midlothian 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 Sunday, 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.

In Midlothian, 12 new panel members are needed to help vulnerable children and young people in the area, with 500 panel members being sought nationally.

Charles Callander (63) from Midlothian, has been a member of the Children’s Panel for more than three years.

Charles is a farmer and applied to become a panel member to help children and young people in his community.

He said: “I thought that joining the Children’s Panel would be a worthwhile thing to do as I wanted to contribute positively to others’ lives and I am passionate about young people’s rights.

“The training provided for panel members is excellent and you gain many skills that can be applied to your personal life. I believe I am better at handling difficult situations and being part of a team.

“I would suggest to anyone who is considering applying to join the Children’s Panel to do some research into it beforehand and think about how much time they can commit. It can be hard work at times, but it is hugely rewarding in all sorts of different ways.”

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, visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org where you can apply online, or call 01620 827379 to speak to the Clerk to the Area Support Team.

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