The impact of Circles
Circles have been shown to have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing, which has led to their inclusion in reports such as:
- Innovations In Dementia (In Control)
- Circles of Support and Personalisation (London School of Economics)
As part of our project at the EachStep care home for people living with a dementia in Blackburn, people with Circles were seen to have an increase of 15% in their wellbeing levels as measured by the Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale. This was shown over 6-8 months of interaction with their Circle.
Notes from the Care Quality Commission
We were mentioned in the Care Quality Commission report on EachStep Blackburn. This shows the positive impression that the impact of Circles left on the regulator:
Creative ways were found to enable people to live full lives which impacted positively on their health and well-being. The use of ‘Community Circles’ supported by volunteers identified opportunities for people to participate in meaningful activities based on their interests or skills. People were also supported to re- engage with social and family networks which were important to them and helped to maintain their sense of identity.
The service was proactive in working with the local community and volunteers to help provide circles of support to people. This enabled people to pursue and develop their interests to promote their health and well-being.
We noted that a strength of the service was the way it worked in partnership with other community groups, local resources and leisure facilities to help people who lived in the home to maintain and develop friendships and interests. In recognition of the importance of links with the local community to promote a sense of well-being in people who lived in Eachstep Blackburn, the service had worked with a person from the national charity ‘Community Circles’ to develop circles of support around individuals who used the service. We spoke with the Community Circles Connector who worked in the service on a full time basis at the time of the inspection, although we noted the funding for their post was due to end shortly after. They told us how they had recruited a number of volunteer facilitators from the local community and that as a result there were currently 15 circles of support running within the service.
The Community Circles Connector told us it was the role of the facilitator to help people who lived in Eachstep Blackburn to develop a circle of support around them based on what interests people had and how they wanted to remain connected with their local community. They gave us numerous examples of how circles of support had impacted positively on people who lived in the home and their wider family. We were told how one circle of support had helped a person reconnect with their local church after returning to the area. Other circles had supported people to maintain important family relationships by facilitating regular visits or meetings. We were also told how another circle of support was helping a person who used the service achieve their ambition of writing and publishing a book of poetry. Another person we spoke with told us how staff had recognised their previous skills as an engineer and had made contact with a local craftsperson in order to support them to learn new skills in wood burning and etching which they told us they very much enjoyed.
If you’d like to know more about the impact of Circles, please get in touch.