At EachStep, specialist dementia care home in Blackburn, we are developing a Community Circle with each person we support.
When people have lived here for about 8 weeks, we have a settling in meeting to reflect on what’s working well and what’s not working from everyone’s perspective. We also ask the question; “If I could, I would…” which supports us to think about the purpose of the circle.
Throughout our meetings, we are hearing a variety of interests that people have and a range of purposes for each circle; keeping people connected to nature, supporting people to reconnect with their faith community, to keep involved with gardening and DIY and to keep connected to family.
As we start our circle meetings, chat with the person and their family and share ideas, I have been reflecting on the ripples from a Community Circle and how the actions that are developed have positive consequences, not only for the person themselves but for other people we support, families and community.
For one chap we support, the purpose of his circle is to keep him connected to nature. At the circle meeting we shared lots of ideas; visits to Brockholes nature reserve, spending time in the garden and making a wild flower meadow garden. Through our conversation it became clear that it was important for his wife to do things together with a group of people that could also involve grandchildren. One of the ideas we came up with was to spend an afternoon making bug boxes.
Our bug boxes were made at Tinkerbrook, a social enterprise supporting people with a learning disability. Staff members and families of the people we support at EachStep collected all the materials for our bug houses, toilet roll holder, twigs, moss and stones.
One weekend afternoon we spent a lovely time together with people we support, their families, staff members and their children making our bug boxes. A lovely creative afternoon with generations of families together. From one idea shared at one person’s circle meeting, the ripples extended through families and community.
For one lady we support, the purpose of her circle is to support her to reconnect to her faith community. At the moment she is not able to go to mass on a Sunday, so we have invited members of her parish to come to a weekly coffee morning. The lady herself has loved the company and conversation and this has also been appreciated by the other people we support who have come along. Members of the parish have also appreciated coming together. We have also asked for support from the local priest and Eucharistic Minister, who will be coming in weekly to give communion. This is wonderful for Margaret and other people we support whose faith is important to them. The Eucharistic Minister is also enjoying having a valued role, making a contribution in her local community.
I’m excited to see the ripples that continue to develop from Community Circles.