Senior Electrical Officer and Grandfather, Donald, has been part of the Children's Panel in Glasgow since 2018. When he is not supporting children and young people in his area, Donald loves to spend time with his two year old Granddaughter, Lillianne.
“I decided to apply for the Children’s Panel after speaking to a friend in Social Work who gave me an insight as to how the Children’s Hearing System worked and who thought I would make a good Panel Member as I had good listening skills.
“Being a good listener is important as the child or young person may not always have the confidence to express their opinions in what can be a very daunting experience for them.
“The core duty of being Panel Member is to put them at the centre of the discussion, show empathy and never be judgemental towards them or their families.”
Donald uses the skills he has gained in his professional life to make sure he makes the best possible decision with and for children and young people.
“In the course of my work, I interact with people of all ages who are all from different backgrounds. Part of my role is to listen to their worries and come up with solutions to the satisfaction of everyone. Sometimes this can be challenging due to the variety of issues that I encounter, but I feel that I always try to be objective, non-argumentative and can normally diffuse a difficult situation. I try to be empathetic to their problems as well, without being condescending, and I think that this combination works well. I use all of these skills in my role as a volunteer Panel Member.
“From my point of view, it is refreshing to hear the views of a young Panel Member when making a decision and to see the difference in how they converse with a child in their hearing. A mix of social backgrounds of Panel Members is also important.”
For Donald, being a volunteer Panel Member has been both a challenge and an extremely rewarding experience.
“Although being a Panel Member can be very difficult, it is extremely rewarding. You are given excellent training to meet the needs of the system and it is ongoing. There is also plenty of support from the Area Support Team and the chance to meet people who have a common interest in the wellbeing of Scotland’s young people.
“For me, the most rewarding part is the feeling that I have made the best possible decision for the child or young person. After seeing the positive turnaround in their lives, I feel that I have done something very worthwhile.”
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