Arthur lives in a care home, the purpose of his Circle is to keep him involved in gardening and DIY.  The circle is made up of Arthur, his wife Doreen, his daughter Donna, friend Kath and Seren, who volunteers to facilitate the circle.  As facilitator, Seren’s role is to support everyone to share their ideas that lead to action and my role as Connector is to support the first few meetings.

At the first circle meeting we shared our ideas of how we could support Arthur to keep involved in the things he loves.  Arthur chats fondly about his career as an engineer and takes much pride in his role.  His family share about his DIY skills, the things he’s built and made, his love of gardening and how he also supported their neighbours to have flourishing gardens. The circle meetings are really relaxed, chatting over tea and coffee and are very much becoming a social event as we get to know each other better, with lots of laughter.

Of the circle meetings, Kath says “My favourite bit of the circle is that we just chat and the most fab ideas come from it.”

Apart from Arthur, between us we didn’t have much knowledge or either gardening or DIY but that’s one of the things that I love about circles; the ability to share and build on each other’s ideas, think about local connections and what’s happening in our local neighbourhoods.

Thinking about gardening, we found out about a local neighbourhood gardening project which Doreen and Arthur are looking at going to together and I got in touch with Nick from Landscape Gardening to support us with some ideas for our garden at the care home.

Nick met with other people we support and their families to gather ideas about our garden, including a shed where we can explore some DIY projects.  When the weather was kinder, we spent some time in the gardens but now are spending time in the garden room doing a variety of gardening activities.  We are also planning to do some pyrography with Nick in the New Year, making signs for our new shed.

One of the things we chatted about at Arthur’s circle meeting was how to keep Arthur involved in DIY.  Not knowing a huge amount about DIY, we asked a man who did.  Paul, the Facilities Officer, does the building checks each Friday.  We chatted about supporting Arthur around DIY and also how we could support Arthur to have a valued role within his home.  Paul and Arthur now spend some time together each Friday doing the water checks together.  Arthur loves his role, his confidence has grown over the weeks he has been helping Paul and takes a lot of pride in contributing to his home.

Of the circle meetings, Donna says “I like the circle meetings, it gives us all an opportunity to find the best ways to keep him busy and what he enjoys the most”

Seren says “I enjoy the circle meetings and think it’s great that Arthur can have his own say about what he wants to do.  The meetings are relaxed and as a group we come up with the best ideas for supporting Arthur well”

Doreen agrees that the circle meetings are great, encouraging everyone to share ideas.

The Care Quality Commission shared the following feedback about Community Circles;

“Creative ways were found to engage people to live full lives which impacted positively on their health and wellbeing. 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.”

Cath Barton

Community Circles Connector