Midlothian’s ordinary folk needed for extraordinary role

An urgent call has been made for new Children’s Panel members to help neglected, abused and troubled children in Midlothian.

Volunteers have until February 10 to step forward to fill the ten spots needed on the county’s Children’s Panel.

The unique Children’s Hearings System relies on attracting fresh volunteers, and this year’s drive is appealing to adults in Midlothian from all backgrounds, particularly men, to apply to ensure the system offers the best support.

There are currently around 2,500 panel volunteers in Scotland who regularly attend hearings to address the needs and behaviour of children and young people who face serious problems in their lives.

These problems can include being abused, failing to attend school, committing an offence or parents having difficulty looking after their them.

No qualifications are needed as full training is given to help prepare panel members.

Billy Halliday, chairman of Midlothian Children’s Panel Advisory Committee, said: “You don’t need any specialist skills or formal training, simply the capacity to care about, and communicate with, children and families.

“Panel members are just ordinary people who have chosen to do something extraordinary and make a positive contribution to children who are at risk in their community.”

Read full story in the January 31 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.