Paul

Paul

Paul, aged 57, has been on the Children’s Panel since May 2015.

He decided to apply after a friend told him about the panel, and explains he was at an age where he wanted to volunteer and give something back to the community.

The grandfather-of-two said: "Being on the panel can be an emotional challenge and you make decisions that have a great effect on children’s lives. You have to use your experience to decide what is right for each child.

"I wanted to use my time to help some of the families around me that were going through their own struggles. A family friend was already on the panel and explained to me how rewarding they found it so I decided to get more information and took it from there.

"At first I assumed there would be some short initial training but it’s actually quite a big commitment. There’s a lot of training and follow-up sessions plus all the reading you need to do to be prepared for sitting on hearings. You have to be committed to wanting to help children in your community so despite there being a lot of time involved, it’s well worth the effort you put in.

"Being able to make well-informed decisions is a key part to being a panel member and you are well supported by the many dedicated people around you. You would be joining a great team. I’d encourage anybody to join the panel, but they should be aware of the time and commitment this role does entail.

"You have to be a strong person who can make tough decisions and stand-by them in order to succeed in helping find the best solutions for the children involved. At the end of the day, I hope I am making a huge difference to the lives of families so I really hope more people consider joining and see how rewarding helping can be."

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