About us

Our history starts in the late 1990s when Owen Cooper and John O’Brien brought together people who were involved in circles of support in the North West of England to see if they could answer the question, “If circles are so great, why aren’t there more of them?”.

Over a decade later little had changed.

Around this time, our co-founders Max Neill and Helen Sanderson started to write about the possibilities of circles of support to deliver personalisation, and Max and Peter Crane hosted a conference on circles of support in Lancashire. These events led the conversations that, in turn, led to the beginning of Community Circles.


Community Circles today

As of summer 2017, we’ve created hundreds of Circles and have expanded our team to include over a dozen members of staff around the country. We’ve also got associates working to launch Community Circles in Australia, Canada and New Zealand; with our support.

But we’re not stopping yet.

The question is still pertinent today: “If circles are so great, why aren’t there more of them?”.  Well, there are certainly more than there were back then; but we are so passionate about the transformative impact they make on people’s lives that we want to create more – many more.


Creating a brighter future

That’s why we’re on a mission to support people to create their own Community Circles in a way that works for them, and is practical to achieve. This led to our decision, in 2017, to create a range of new ways to create Circles, from free-of-charge DIY tools right through to bespoke support for care provider organisations who want to embed them within the way they work. You can see these different ways of expanding our reach right here, on this website.

We’re excited about the future for Circles, and we hope you are too. We hope that, soon, the question “If circles are so great, why aren’t there more of them?” won’t be relevant anymore. Instead, everyone will know what Circles are all about – and what makes them great.