Blog by Cath Barton
Mary’s circle is exploring ways that she can reconnect with her faith community. In my last blog I wrote about the first time I had gone to church with Mary and what I had begun to learn about what good support looks like.
I had noted that Mary walks slowly and can be hesitant with her footing, particularly when there is a change in surfaces. Also that she likes to link her arm with you and it helps to remind her whether there is a step or not. Mary was also hesitant going up for communion, needing a little reassurance.
After going to church with Mary a few more times, she was no longer hesitant with her footing and was walking independently into church, confident with her surroundings. Mary is becoming more familiar with the church service and recognising when it’s time for communion and following the lead of other members of the congregation.
It’s wonderful to see how comfortable Mary is at church and staff have noticed how her overall well-being has improved.
Mary uses a few words to speak but mainly writes down what she wants to say and here Mary tells us one of the reasons that church is important to her:
“Friends as well again, I speak to people when I go to church”
Mary is also developing her connections within her parish by going to the church’s Welcome Club. The members of the club have made Mary feel very welcome and give her great support particularly when Mary wins a raffle prize, as she likes to take her time choosing exactly what she wants.
At Mary’s recent circle meeting, we were joined by Katherine from Manchester Metropolitan University who is involved in research looking at the impact of circles of support. Katherine commented on the support Mary has to attend church and the welcome club and the positive contributions staff are making to support Mary to develop connections and relationships. We hope that in the future Mary will have support from members of her parish to attend church rather than people who are paid to be with her and can invite more people to be part of her circle. In the meantime the staff who support Mary are giving her the support she needs to have quality in her life and to develop the connections at church which are so important to her.
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