TIME is running out for people to step forward and help create a brighter future for some of Ayrshire’s most vulnerable children and young people.

The Children’s Hearing System (CHS) is appealing for volunteers to become members of the Children’s Panel as part of its recruitment dr ive, which closes on Monday, 24 September.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the role is invited to an information evening on Tuesday, September 11, in Greenwood Conference Centre, Dreghorn, Irvine, from 7pm-9pm.

Children’s Panel members make vital decisions to help vulnerable children and young people in need of care and protection. Those applying for the role do not need any specific qualifications but must be over 18 and either live, or work, in the Ayrshire area.

Regardless of their background, panel members should be independent thinkers, good listeners and communicators, have great negotiating skills, and the ability to keep a level head in difficult situations.

All panel members will receive extensive training and support to help them make potentially life-changing decisions in the lives of a child or young person.

Councillor John Sweeney, representative on the Ayrshire Area Support Team, said: said: “The people who make up the Children’s Panel give up their time and efforts for the benefit of children and young people in need of care and support. While we are looking for panel members from all walks of life, we would be particularly keen to hear from men as we currently have a shortage of male volunteers.

“The rewards are enormous. Not only is it personally satisfying to be a panel member but knowing that you have made a positive difference to the lives of children and young people is priceless.”

The initiative is supported by North, South, and East Ayrshire councils and Councillor Claire Leitch, East Ayrshire Depute Provost and Children’s Champion, added: “Panel members play an important role in shaping the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Ayrshire.

“The difference the Panel can make for a child’s wellbeing, direction and long-term success in school, work and in life is vital.

“It can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for all concerned and I would urge those interested to get in touch and take that first, important step in helping to transform the life of a vulnerable young person.”

For more information can also call 01294 324155/324162 or alternatively visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org