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Hear from our volunteers

Hear From Panel Members

What is a Panel Member

Why become a Panel Member

Panel Member training

Jihad, Panel Member, Tayside:

Jihad is a psychology graduate from the University of Dundee in his early twenties. He has been a volunteer Panel Member since 2018.

“I loved the idea of being able to make a difference to children and young people who don’t have the ability to change their situation alone. I think, often, people want the best for others but find it hard to get out there and make real change.”

For Jihad, the strength of the Children’s Panel lies in its focus of always putting the child or young person at the heart.

“The Children’s Panel is an extensively positive system which allows children and young people to speak their minds and tell us their worries and concerns. Through this, we are able to make the best-informed decisions to improve their lives as much as we can and keep them safe and happy."

Like the children and young people themselves, Jihad believes the panel could be even stronger with increased representation.

“Having a wide-variety of individuals allows for the Children’s Panel to be made up of members with different experiences, backgrounds, points of view and skillsets.”

For Jihad, being a volunteer Panel Member has been a life changing experience.

“The Panel Members I’ve worked with are a group of the most genuine and caring people I’ve met, who are there solely to make a positive change to children and young people. Being a Panel Member is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling roles anybody can have.”

Abbie, Panel Member, Central and West Lothian:

Panel Member Abbie is a civil servant who sits on children's hearings in Central and West Lothian. Abbie is an experienced traveller having previously worked as an overseas representative and a travel consultant. She is also a trained hairdresser.

“I’d heard an advert on the radio for the children’s panel in 2018 and it really appealed to me. I really wanted to do some sort of volunteering and I couldn’t think of a better way than to contribute to my own community and support children and young people.”

“At the time, I wasn’t sure I was ready to do something as crucial as to make important decisions on children and young people’s lives, however, I needn’t have worried about being ready. The training from Children’s Hearings Scotland is fantastic. It’s a really huge investment in people which is great, and it really puts you up to the standard where you can sit on the Panel.”

Abbie’s favourite aspect of volunteering on the children’s panel is its commitment to keeping the infant, child or young person at the heart of all decisions made.

“The feeling of creating a safe, nurturing environment for children and young people to grow is amazing and so rewarding. We are helping children and young people have an optimistic future, ensuring they have the right level of support, guidance and protection.”

“Being a Panel Member is very rewarding as you are directly involved in potentially shaping a brighter future for people. It can be hard and at times intensive, but definitely worth every minute.”

You can also read James’, Stephen’s, Donald’s, Michael’s, and Scott’s stories, which all featured as part of a series on Glasgow Live (written and photography by Elaine Livingston, 2019).