Are you compassionate, empathetic and a good listener? Can you build trust? If yes, then you could be the right person to become a volunteer Panel Member for children’s hearings.
Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS), the organisation that recruits and trains Panel Members to serve at children’s hearings, is today launching a campaign seeking new volunteers.
More than 2,500 volunteers serve in Scotland’s unique children’s hearings, which are legal meetings set up when there are concerns about the wellbeing or care of an infant, child or young person.
At each hearing, three Panel Members listen and make legal decisions with and for the infant, child or young person. The Panel Member’s role includes making sure that the young person is at the heart of the decisions made.
Judy Brunton, a Panel Member in Renfrewshire, says: “I would encourage anyone to become a PM. It enables you to see how precious life is and how important it is that every child has a safe upbringing, the opportunity to be in a caring and loving family, and raised in an environment that gives them everything they require. It really makes a difference.”
Serving Panel Members are helping to launch the campaign, which runs until 3 October. Adverts for volunteers will run in print, broadcast and social media, featuring qualities that have been identified as needed for the role by young people with experience of hearings.
Elliot Jackson, National Convener and Chief Executive of Children’s Hearings Scotland, said: “Volunteering is so rewarding and you can really make a difference to young people in your area. It can also support your own personal development through the gaining of new skills such as leadership, decision making, effective communication, influencing and negotiating.
“This campaign is based on what young people who have experience of children’s hearings are telling us they want to see in their Panel Members – qualities such as being trustworthy, compassionate, empathetic and a good listener.
“If you want to make a difference in your local community, I encourage you to take the opportunity this year to apply to join our wonderful volunteer community.”
Panel Members must be 18 or over, and are appointed for three years. They receive comprehensive training leading to a Professional Development Award accredited at SCQF level 7 by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Hearings take place during the working week but as they are statutory tribunals, employers have a duty to allow reasonable time off to serve at them.
To learn more and apply, visit the Children’s Hearings Scotland website.