Margaret was very nervous about having a circle. What did it involve? Who should she invite? Would they want to come? Margaret really didn’t want to be the centre of attention. What she really wanted was to develop some more friendships in her life. She had many acquaintances in her village, but not many deeper friendships. She wanted people to share things with and to talk and laugh with. Margaret also happens to have some long term health conditions and is on medication that can make her feel tired and her head feel fuzzy. This can be hard when you live on your own. So Margaret decided that she would like a circle, but it needed to be very informal. I asked her how she felt if it was a group of friends coming round once a month for a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chat. That felt good! The purpose of Margaret’s circle was to develop some deeper friendships, and to help her sort out anything that she needed some help with.


There are some very practical things that have happened in the circle. Margaret has a large garden and needed some help to clear the boarders and the long grass and weeds. A group of people from her church cleared it for her and she donated some money to some charity work that they were doing in return. For the longer term, Margaret found a reliable gardener who she can call on when the garden needs some work.

The door in the living room needed a new coat of paint and was not shutting properly because a couple of screws had come out. A lady in the circle offered to go round and she both fixed and painted the door.

At the most recent circle meeting everyone was sharing about events that are happening on the local village – afternoon tea with a live jazz band, Christmas crafts afternoon, coffee mornings, what’s on at the cinema. The cinema! Now, there’s an idea. Margaret hasn’t been to the cinema in a very long time and said she would love to go. Someone took on the action to find out what’s on and when and organise for everyone to go. It’s either going to be ‘The Suffragettes’ or ‘The lady in the van’. Maybe they will go and see both.

Oh, and on a more practical note, Margaret would like some help with her filing and sorting out her backlog of paper work….but maybe that can wait until after a matinee film at the cinema.

There is also one of Margaret’s friends who has asked if she can join Margaret’s circle. I think she may have heard about the tea, cake and good company. And she also really appreciates Margaret as her friend. Margaret was really happy to have a new friend in her circle. It now doesn’t feel scary, but it is a date to look forward to, meeting with friends, sharing tea and cake whilst planning some nice things to do together. And there is always some help with any practical bits and bobs that might need doing too.

Helen Smith