Delivering circles of support and accountability to protect communities from sexual harm and sexual reoffending


Circles South West Volunteers: Who Volunteers For Us?

Circles South West volunteers are a rare bunch. They volunteer in an area that many people just aren’t able to consider and do so with maturity, respect and a strong drive to better the community. But what do our volunteers look like? Let’s look at the people that make up our CSW volunteers:

It may come as no surprise to you that more women volunteer with us than men, by a majority of 3:1. We have always had an easier time attracting women to the role although in the past 12 months we have seen the gender imbalance improve slightly.

The majority of our volunteers are of working age with a fairly equal split between younger people and people of retirement age. Half are between the ages of 22-40 years old. Our youngest volunteer is 19 years old and our eldest is 85. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to offer a wide range of differing outlooks and life experiences to our core members. And it enables us to balance our Circles to give the most valuable experience.

Our volunteers’ ethnic make-up is predominantly White British (84%) which reflects well the ethnic make-up of south west communities as a whole (91.8%) and our service users (95%). We are keen to increase the ethnic diversity of our volunteer group, particularly in areas with proportionately higher ethnic minority population e.g. Bristol (80% White British).

The majority of our volunteers are in employment (44%), with students (30%) being the second largest group. Where possible the Circle make-up reflects a cross-section of the local community.

We have a strong contingent of people who are religious (27%), and the Quakers have always been firm supporters, however we are finding that more and more of our volunteers say they don’t have any religious belief (57%).

The majority of our volunteers do not self-define as disabled (88%). Of the people that do (6%) there is a mix of physical disabilities and non-physical disabilities. CSW is an equal opportunities charity and we strive to adjust and adapt to ensure we include all volunteers, accommodating individual needs.

We don’t have a ‘typical’ volunteer – there are a variety of reasons that people become involved – but all are motivated by a desire to join together to help create safer local communities.

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