Jim decided to join the Children’s Panel when he retired and has been involved for over four years.

Using his spare time, Jim wanted to volunteer with an organisation that would be challenging for him whilst at the same time afforded him the opportunity to make a difference to vulnerable children and families in his community.

Jim said: "I used to work in social rented housing where I would deal with issues that were associated with living in communities. This gave me considerable insight into what different challenges and difficulties families face so when I heard about the Children’s Panel, I knew I wanted to use the skills I had to help.

"Being a Panel Member can be demanding, uplifting, sometimes distressing and often rewarding. In the real world however you can’t always get the perfect solution you want. You have to be able to juggle a number of factors in cases but at the end of the day, you always try and find the best solution for the child in question.

"As I say, you can’t always get the perfect solution but when you do see positive results and progress in a child or family, it can feel extremely rewarding. You have to bear this in mind, especially during more distressing cases where the most positive outcome cannot always be reached.

"I think it’s great if anybody is thinking about joining the panel. However, they need to be sure it’s the right decision for them. The training can be quite time-consuming but I found it extremely useful in preparing me for what lay ahead. Of course as well as sitting on hearings there is the need to set time aside for reading and preparation beforehand. All of which keeps the brain alert and active.

"Age should not be a detrimental factor. I don’t think you can ever be too old to learn new things and if your mind is still active and you have the desire to help children and families, I’d say give it a go."

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