Bill, aged 59, has been a member of the Children’s Panel twice, recently re-joining three years ago shortly after taking early retirement.

The former health service professional and manager has worked with young people throughout his career so decided to join the panel to help the children that often go unnoticed in day-to-day life.

He said: “I take so much from being on the Children’s Panel and find the entire experience very beneficial. Seeing good outcomes is very satisfying and makes dealing with more problematic cases easier knowing that you are making a difference to people going through their own personal struggles.

“The training you receive is extremely professional and helps build on your own skills learned throughout your life. You also get a lot of experience in simulated situations and role play so you feel very prepared before actually sitting on the panel.

“More personally, as a child I had quite a tough time so I feel I can relate to some of the difficulties children and families are going through. Sometimes children think adults don’t understand but because of what I’ve experienced growing up, I understand how they feel and what advice or help I would’ve wanted when I was that age.

“I’ve got two pieces of advice for people looking to join the Children’s Panel. One is that if you want to give back to the community, with children in particular, this role is definitely for you. Secondly, you do have to appreciate the work and time commitment involved. I can’t underestimate what you need to do in terms of training, preparation and the time it takes to act on the panel but in the end, it’s worth all the time and effort you put in.”

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