Panel members sought to look out for kids

Children's panel volunteers are being sought.
Children's panel volunteers are being sought.

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help neglected, abused and troubled children across the city.

An urgent call has been made to residents to join the children’s panel in Glasgow.

Currently 20 people are needed and the deadline for registering interest is Tuesday.

Newlands resident Varrie Beaton is a director of her family business and has been volunteering for the children’s panel for five years.

The 53-year-old said: “It makes you less judgemental of situations in society. You realise there are people who are victims of terrible circumstances with significant problems, living just a few miles from where you stay.

“It’s made me feel thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given.

“After a particularly challenging hearing I always come away with a sense of accomplishment when I realise I’ve managed a situation well”.

The training provided to all members is very comprehensive and equips people with all the knowledge and skills needed.

Varrie, who is a trainer for the panel, added: “We teach people the basics such as legislation and the processes involved in the system but we also invest in each individual’s personal development.

“Good communication skills are really important and we spend time developing techniques that can be applied to different situations such as teasing information out of a troubled child.

“It is also important new panel members take into account the circumstances of a family or child without being judgemental.

“We can usually tell quite quickly when volunteering as a children’s panel member is not right for someone.

“It’s been a really rewarding experience and I would urge others to find out more”.

The system relies on attracting fresh volunteers and this year’s drive is appealing to adults in Glasgow from all backgrounds, particularly men, to apply.

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.

Evelyn Lennie, chairwoman of the Glasgow children’s panel advisory committee, said: “There is no such thing as the perfect panel member. What makes the system so effective is the mix of experience from volunteers, who each bring a different perspective to the table.

“That mix is essential when faced with making difficult decisions about the life of a child”.

To register interest to become a panel member in Glasgow call 0845 601 2770 or text PANEL 4 to 61611.

Further information is available at www.childrenspanelscotland.org.