Welcome to Circles South West: Join us!
Circles South West is the South Western part of the UK Circles ‘family’. We’re very proud of the work we do on our patch, delivering Circles of Support and Accountability (Circles) in Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Circles South West was established in 2010 after 2 successful pilot projects had been completed in the region. Our purpose is simple: no more victims, which is another way of saying: no further offending by the people who volunteer themselves as Core Members of a Circle. This is an ambitious objective as, with limited resources, we invite and take referrals of offenders who have been assessed by the statutory authorities as posing a high risk of re-conviction and of serious harm. We are very proud of the fact that, substantially against the odds, none of the men who have participated in the Circles approach to rehabilitation in our region has been convicted of further sexual offences. This is hugely significant.
With this in mind we are actively seeking to substantially build Circles provision in the South West. To do this, we are:
- generating the necessary income to deliver more Circles: our recent Big Lottery award has given us the opportunity to achieve significant growth and development across the region
- recruiting more volunteers to engage with the Circles process. The engagement of volunteers is not a cash saving process: it is intrinsic to the approach. The fact that ordinary people are prepared to engage with this marginalised group, in order to protect their communities, is at the heart of the success of the Circles approach
- developing our infrastructure ensuring that paid staff provide vital training and professional support for volunteers, and that they establish and maintain links with the statutory authorities who refer Core Members. These agencies need to be confident that our service is robust and fully accountable.
The phrase ‘ordinary people’ was used in the paragraph above. It’s not quite accurate: ordinary, in the sense that these are not professional people; but extraordinary, in that they can see beyond the offences to the possibility for the offender, of the future being different. They also believe in the powerful role that community members really can play in creating change and making their communities safer.
From a core member
Here’s the last paragraph from a ‘thank-you’ letter received from a Core Member from our region:
It would have been extremely difficult to address many of these issues without the help and support of my Circle. It is possible to review issues within the statutory framework of the police and probation but the different emphasis, and, most importantly, the time, provided by Circles of Support and Accountability allowed me to look deeper and to minimise the chances of getting back into a spiral of negative thoughts and fantasy and hence to avoid having any further victims, which I am sure has to be the primary aim.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity – it’s now up to me to ensure I continue the good work!’
That’s it really, in a nutshell.
Circles South West
Getting in touch
If you feel you might be one of those extraordinary-ordinary people would like to support our work through cash or in-kind contributions; or would simply like to know more about our work we would be delighted to hear from you. Contact Circles South West.