A LONG-SERVING member of West Dunbartonshire’s Children’s Hearing has spoken about local children achieving their full potential after he was honoured at an event recognising carers.

The dedicated members, who had served a combined total of 190 years on the Children’s Hearing, were each presented with a certificate and long service gift.

Along with recognising the long service of existing members, the services welcomed seven new volunteers who successfully completed their pre-service training.

West Dunbartonshire’s longest serving member, Stephen Phillips, has dedicated 40 years of his life to the service, and said: “I believe every child has the right to achieve their full potential in every aspect of their education and their upbringing.

“I believe in the Kilbrandon principle that the child is the product of their environment. Unfortunately too many children in West Dunbartonshire are not able to fulfil their potential.

“The Hearing system can and does make a positive difference for many children and it is rewarding to me that I can contribute to that.

“I have had no difficulty in maintaining my commitment to the children and families of West Dunbartonshire because there is a need.”

Stephen added: “Working as a panel member has been one of the most rewarding and enriching uses of my time throughout my life.

“I have laughed, I have cried after a panel, I have been worried and have been nervous but at the end of the day if I have contributed in any small way towards a child fulfilling her or his potential it has been worth it.”

Councillor Karen Conaghan, chair of educational services and the council’s representative on the West Dunbartonshire area support team, said: “It is right and appropriate for us to recognise the commitment of members of the Children’s Hearing and all they do to help vulnerable children and families in West Dunbartonshire.” These volunteers have willingly spent their free time helping others and this small gesture is our way of thanking every one of the volunteers for their commitment to this service.”