Abbie McCluskie

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One of our newest Panel Members is Abbie, 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 last year 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, I also wasn’t sure how it would fit in with working full time.

“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.

“I’m really new to being a Panel Member but the feeling of creating a safe, nurturing environment for children and young people to grow is amazing and so rewarding. It’s been such a fantastic learning experience.

“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 time intensive, but definitely worth every minute.”

Read more volunteer stories