Connecting with others is a common goal for people who start a Community Circle and thinking about meeting new people was the idea that sparked Leanne’s Circle.

Leanne is friendly and great company. She has a great sense of humour and really enjoys a chat and a laugh together.  Leanne has a learning disability and the purpose of her Circle is to support her to find things she wants to do and explore opportunities where she can connect with others as she had recently moved house.

One of the first ideas was to think about volunteering opportunities and where and how Leanne could use her gifts and talents.  Leanne is a keen reader and already had previous experience of helping out at the library and said that this was something she enjoyed.  The library near her new home was really keen to welcome her as a volunteer and Leanne really enjoys her time there.

Because of lockdown restrictions, the library has been closed and Leanne wasn’t able to continue with her voluntary role.  But her love of books and helping out didn’t disappear, we just needed to find a different way to do it.  Leanne joined our Book Swap event on Circles Connected Facebook Group and wondered if she could do this with her neighbours.  Leanne sent a note to her closest neighbours who were all keen to get involved and as well as sharing books, sparked conversation and getting to know each other better.  The local book swap grew by connecting with more neighbours through the Nextdoor App and has increased Leanne’s sense of belonging.

Through connecting with her neighbours more, Leanne is now collecting contributions from her neighbours for the local food bank and is having more doorstep conversations than she previously did.

Leanne is really keen to carry on helping out at the library when it reopens but also wants to keep her local book swap going.  We’ve had to think differently about connections during lockdown, for the things that have worked well let’s keep them going.

What things have you done differently during lockdown that you’ll continue to do?