Our most vital asset: our volunteers
With the publication of our Final Evaluation Report we thought it was important to look at the part that covers our most vital asset; our volunteers.
Volunteers are the life blood of Circles South West and we regularly ask them to review our practices through their experience. It allows us to see where any improvements can be made, as well as looking at the difference that volunteering brings to their lives.
With this in mind the report finds:
“CSW volunteers are not only contributing to the core members’ lives, but are also an important asset to the wider community. Volunteers gain high-quality training and experience in social and criminal justice work, and contribute thousands of hours of their time to preventing reoffending” (Final Evaluation Report, March 2019, p.57)
The evaluation also found that (Ibid, p.53ff):
- Volunteers are very positive about their experience: “the volunteers were extremely positive about their experience of being in a circle. The support provided by coordinators and the training they had received was particularly highly praised”. The evaluation identified that volunteers found their experience rewarding (87%) and felt safe volunteering (98%). Training and guidance were adequate for the role (98%) and they learnt valuable new skills (79%). Emotional support was rates as extremely high (100%) and almost all said they would recommend volunteering with CSW to others (98%).
- CSW has an excellent volunteer retention rate: “ 85% suggested that they intend to volunteer in another circle”
- Involving and investing in circle volunteers has a wider positive impact in the community “the development of volunteers by CSW appears to have positive effects for the wider community, with many suggesting that the skills they have learned will be used elsewhere….there is evidence that the work of CSW is developing communities which have increased awareness of working with sexual offenders and are trained and experienced to be more capable of identifying and reducing risks”
- The cost-benefit of this approach is a key benefit “the estimated financial value of this community resource is high” with an estimate £152,000 in-kind contribution in terms of volunteering hours (6048) with 58 Circles over the period of this evaluation.
We’re delighted that our volunteers are so positive about their experiences and this shows in the numbers who decide to continue to a second or third circle, and in some cases and even higher number than that.
We regularly keep in contact with our volunteers to gain their feedback, and we’ll be sure to share future survey results with you here on our news page.
If you’d like to join our dedicated and skilled volunteers, to be a part of a CSW circle, don’t hesitate to learn more and apply on the website.