My Week: Melva Burton tackles statistical returns and goes to uni

The regional coordinator at Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability recounts her week

Melva Burton
Melva Burton

MONDAY - I tackle a job I can't put off any longer - the quarterly statistical return for Circles UK, our umbrella body, has to go off today. I also work on the details of a conference we are hosting in the new year. I remind myself to leave my phone on in the evening because one of my circles - small groups of volunteers that support and hold to account former sexual offenders to prevent reoffending - is meeting tonight and I am on call until 10pm.

TUESDAY - I have two meetings with potential volunteers who have just done their induction training. Our recruitment process is rigorous and includes an interview before and after training. The personal qualities of our volunteers and the skills they bring astound me - these two also offer pro bono PR work and research into the effectiveness of our training, on top of the time they will give in circles.

WEDNESDAY - I'm at Hull University to recruit volunteers. I expect it to be a low-key chat to a few students, but find myself in a room crammed with law, psychology and criminology students. It's great to have so much interest - I suppose this reflects a keenness to get some relevant experience. The challenge is to ensure we have a diverse pool of volunteers who are able to support and hold to account our clients.

THURSDAY - I have my own support and accountability session with our chair. It's good to reflect on how far we've come since we started in January, as well as remembering where we are heading. Then it's off to a meeting to pull together a continuation funding bid that we want to get off next week. Thank goodness we have a treasurer who can cast a critical eye over it. This is no time for sloppy bids.

FRIDAY - I'm meeting a probation officer to discuss a potential core member - the term we use for the ex-offenders we work with. I need to be convinced he isn't just going along with his probation officer's suggestion. It turns out that the key question isn't whether he meets our criteria but whether we have got the right mix of volunteers available in the right part of the county.

YHCOSA works with former sexual offenders to prevent reoffending

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