Written by Lowri Bartrum; Circle Facilitator

barcelona-2014-121I was first introduced to Laura and her family over email. The email was an introduction and a brief outline of  the purpose of Laura’s circle – For Laura to make plans for the future and to take a lead on the decisions in her life.

When I met Laura, she had just finished a successful week of Mock GCSE exams, Laura was sitting with her family enjoying an evening meal and whilst they finished their meal, I chatted to Laura about the things that she enjoyed and I found out more about her life and her plans for the future. We chatted very informally and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

When we got down to the business of discussing who was going to be in Laura’s circle, we talked at length over a log burning stove. Laura’s mum (Carol) and dad (Ken) had some ideas about who would be good in Laura’s circle.

Laura had many people she could choose from to be in her circle. Laura forms great relationships with people and our task was to identify a good number of people to be in her circle so that Laura was supported and not overwhelmed by having too many perspectives.

Laura decided on having her auntie and uncle, her god parents and a family friend sitting in her circle. The discussions soon moved on to how the circle would look and we identified that all of these people would be great in Laura’s circle, however, Laura is 16 and the people identified were all her parent’s age. Ken and Carol were very keen that Laura have some of her peers sitting in her circle and so Laura identified 2 young women a little older than herself who she hoped we would be able to approach on her behalf.

Laura has a big decision pending. She has visited a college some distance away from her family where she hopes to go after school. Although she likes the college, there are some aspects of the decision that are concerning her. The 2 young women have both recently experienced leaving home to go to university, so it is hoped that they will be able to help her to consider the benefits and opportunities of moving away.

It was great to see that Laura had so many people in her life who she wanted in her circle, however the practicalities of having such a large number of people led to another idea of having the inner circle and associate circle members who Laura and her circle can call on when it is thought that their specific input would be most helpful in supporting Laura to make changes in her life.

Laura’s Circle will meet on a 6 weekly basis in order to build momentum. Some of her circle members live too far away for them to be able to attend physically and so we will be using skype and other technology to enable them to be part of the meeting.

Laura’s circle looks set to become a powerful group of people who all have the common aim – to enable Laura to be in the driving seat of her life.

When I left Laura’s house that evening, I felt elated, excited and honoured to be involved. I am looking forward to her first Community Circle and meeting everyone that has been invited!