In Community Circles we often talk of the ripples and spiders web of connections that develop and relationships that flourish, from a first conversation, an idea or an opportunity we grasp.  We are delighted to see the ripples and flourishing relationships through our Small Sparks with Ashton Circle.  Small Sparks was introduced to the UK by Carl Poll, community builder and pioneer, based on the knowledge that local people have great ideas for their local neighbourhood and just need a small spark to ignite their enthusiasm and a bit of money to help the idea grow.

Becky’s love of reading sparked an idea of a Little Free Library in the local park and with support from the Wigan Timber, local MP’s and Wigan Council the library is now a local hub for book swaps.  The Little Free Library has also sparked an idea for reading groups during the summer holidays and we’re delighted to have the support from a local children’s author for our sessions.  The Library has also sparked the start of Ashton Circle Book Club, bringing people together around their love of reading.  At our first get together author Jonathan Whitelaw also contributed to our book club Q&A and in advance of our next meet up there are members making plans to meet up for lunch.  I’m delighted to be hosting the Book Club as part of my Two Hour Club contribution.  The Two Hour Club is rethinking traditional volunteering to focus on investing in our own wellbeing, supporting people to do something that they love alongside others with the same interest.  It’s an opportunity for me to meet new people, share my love of reading and read a wider choice of books than I might normally do and who knows where the ripples of friendships may take us.

Becky’s Small Spark and my Two Hour Club contribution isn’t just part of our job and something nice to do, it’s about living our purpose to create opportunities for people to have better and more connected lives and how our values show up in our behaviour.  It’s about thinking of our own wellbeing and having joy in our roles.  It’s about how we aspire to live our Social Care Future Vision;

“We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing things that matter to us.”

The work we do at Community Circles isn’t only for people who draw on social care, it’s for all of us.  We are mindful to think about our gifts of our head, hands and heart and where we can all make a contribution and it’s one way of bringing our whole selves to work and bringing joy into our workplace.  Thinking about the work we do to support people to live well, feel connected and have joy in their lives, we cannot deliver what we do not have, so building joy into our roles is essential.  We’re excited about future opportunities to explore more about wellbeing at work.

How is joy showing up for you in your role?