Liz Lochhead writes poem for children's panel drive

image captionScotland's national poet Liz Lochhead wants more people to join the Children's Panel

Scotland's national poet Liz Lochhead has written a poem aimed at encouraging more people to sign up as members of the Children's Panel.

The Makar said she hoped it would attract volunteers who want to help vulnerable youngsters to get their lives back on track.

The poem, Trouble is not my middle name, is part of a month-long campaign to recruit for the Children's Panel.

There are currently 2,500 volunteers who attend young people hearings.

Panel members may have to deal with children who have committed offences, or who are failing to attend school, or who are being neglected by their carers.

To mark the month-long recruitment drive, a bench bearing the lines from the poem "Trouble is not my middle name, not who I am. If you help and care, real hope is there" was unveiled at Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens by children's minister Aileen Campbell and 23-year-old Heather Scott, a panel member.

Liz Lochhead said she was delighted to write the poem for the campaign and urged people to get involved in improving the lives of vulnerable youngsters in Scotland.

She said volunteers don't need qualifications or experience, just a need to care about the welfare and wellbeing of Scotland's children.

'Personal benefits'

Ms Lochhead said: "I was delighted to be invited to write this poem as part of the new recruitment campaign for the Children's Panel.

"I've known of the system for many years and having met many panel members I know of the personal benefits that those who volunteer gain as well as helping children in trouble.

"I hope that this poem will attract new volunteers who can help children get their lives back on track and support this valuable system."

Ms Campbell said: "By committing time to the Children's Panel, people can improve the lives of vulnerable youngsters across Scotland.

"Those interested in getting involved don't require qualifications or experience, they just need to care about the welfare and wellbeing of Scotland's children."