How Circles work

A Community Circle brings two or more people together around someone who wants a little help to make a change in their life. That change can be anything – from getting out and about more, to starting a new hobby or restarting an old one, or creating opportunities to spend more time with friends or family.

Everyone then works towards making this change happen with the support of a volunteer Community Circles Facilitator. The Facilitator keeps meetings flowing, following a tried-and-tested, step-by-step process that ensures that conversations are focused and lead to actions.

Here’s how Community Circles work, step-by-step:

1. Someone gets in touch with us

After hearing about Circles, someone decides to get in touch with us. This might be someone who wants a Circle of their own, or someone who thinks a Circle would be good for someone they know.

2. We explain what Circles are all about

We like to tell people about Circles over a cuppa and a chat, but we can share information via email or over the phone too. After someone gets in touch with us, we’ll contact them to talk about what Circles are and how they might help. We’ll also confirm that there is no cost to having a Circle.

3. Together we choose the volunteer Facilitator

A Circle Facilitator is a locally-based volunteer who takes part in Circle meetings, helping to keep meetings focused on their overall purpose and ensuring that they are leading to actions. They are given full training, so they understand how Circles work and guide the Circle meetings every step of the way.

It’s important that the person who wants a Circle feels comfortable with their Facilitator, so we help them to choose from our available volunteers based on a one-page profile. This profile will tell the person more about the facilitator, so they can find someone who’s a great match.

4. First steps with the Facilitator

Next, the person meets the Facilitator in person. They talk about who to invite to be a part of the Circle, and when and where would be good for meetings. The Facilitator will arrange to invite people, so the person doesn’t have to do it themselves. They will also talk about what would create a comfortable and positive environment for the meeting, so they can ensure that everyone feels relaxed and ready to participate.

5. The Circle meets for the first time

The first Circle meeting is a chance for everyone to get to know each other – if they don’t – meet the Facilitator, and talk about what they are going to be doing in future Circle meetings. The Facilitator will tell everyone that the next meeting will be based around a Person-Centred Review. This is a way of thinking about where the person is at currently, and how they might want things to change. This forms the basis for the direction of the Circle, and the Facilitator will share a video that introduces the process. This helps everyone think about what they’d like to share in advance of the planning meeting.

6. The planning meeting

This meeting is based around the Person-Centred Review, and helps everyone to learn about what the person would like to change in their life and why. Everyone is invited to contribute to the process, and it’s usually a lively and inspiring process! This then leads to the Circle’s first actions, which the facilitator records for everyone. Then it’s just a matter of organising the next meeting, which is usually in a few weeks time.

7. Ongoing Circle meetings

Future Circle meetings then generally follow the same format – the facilitator starts the meeting and everyone gives an update on their actions. As a group, everyone thinks about what’s been tried, what’s been learned, and what might be changed. This helps everyone to think about what can be done next, and to set some new actions.

8. Change happens!

And, as easy as that, we start to see change happening! By coming together as a group and sharing ideas and tasks, a Community Circle has a real impact on people’s lives.

 

Sound good to you?

Then learn more about whether they’re right for your situation by exploring the links below.

Circle stories

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