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Children's Hearing Scotland call for Aberdeenshire volunteers


By Lewis McBlane

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Children's Hearings Scotland are looking for 80 trainee volunteers, aged over 18, to sit on their panels across Aberdeenshire which make legal decisions about local children.

Panel members come from all backgrounds and the organisation wants volunteers who reflect the varied lives of Scottish children.

Applicants do not need lots of free time, a relevant career or legal knowledge to be considered.

Children’s Hearings Scotland chief executive Elliot Jackson said: “The Children’s Panel is a statutory service in Scotland, and couldn’t operate without volunteer Panel Members making decisions with and for children and young people.

“We are a forward-looking, inclusive organisation.

"One that puts the views of the children and young people we exist to serve, at the heart of everything we do – including recruitment."

According to Children's Hearing Scotland, there are 2500 volunteer members of panel meetings across Scotland.

In the year 2020–2021, 16,248 hearings were held to support 8977 children.

Most meetings have been held virtually.

Volunteers are being asked to show their people-skills when applying and their desire to help.

Children's Hearings Scotland in particular wants to recruit younger panel members.
Children's Hearings Scotland in particular wants to recruit younger panel members.

Mr Jackson said: “This campaign is centred on what young people who have experience of children’s hearings, are telling us they want to see in their Panel Members.

"Qualities like being caring, 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."

The campaign is particularly urging men to apply, as panels legally have to have one male member.

Stuart Cosgrove, a Panel Member in Aberdeen, said: "When I applied to be a panel member I was really interested in learning more about the Children’s Hearing System and finding a way that I could truly help to make a difference in my community, however I was unsure if I was the correct fit for what the Children’s Hearing System would be looking for.

"This was partly because of my age, but also because of my own perceived lack of experience with children and young people.

"I feel by being a younger panel member I have a greater appreciation for the experiences young people have in education or with peers present day and especially within our local authority.

"I think it is extremely important to get the message across that children’s panel values experiences and skills from people of all ages and backgrounds, and the training provided really helps to lay the foundations for the right people to be panel members regardless of their exposure to some of the particular issues that we see.

"You are extremely well supported by your local team, fellow panel members and those providing your training throughout your time and this makes the entire experience really positive.”

Applications for new Panel Members opened on Wednesday, January 12 and will close midnight on Wednesday, February 9.

To find out more and to apply, visit: https://chscotland.gov.uk/


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