Community Circles are focused on the individual, and what they would like to achieve in their life. As these goals can develop over time, Circles can adapt and change with them. Yvonne’s Circle is one example of a Circle whose goals have continued to evolve.

Meet Yvonne

Yvonne is a thoughtful, caring person who is appreciative of others. She always looks lovely and takes pride in her appearance. She loves to colour and is wonderfully artistic. Yvonne is 69 years old and has a learning disability.

Cath, the Community Circles Connector, was introduced to Yvonne at the local community café. Yvonne talked about how she would like to volunteer in a café, and Cath explained how Community Circles might be able to help her to achieve it.

Cath shared some volunteers’ one page profiles with Yvonne, so she find out about who might be available to support her Circle. After discussing it with Cath, Yvonne chose Michelle, who owns a ladies-only gym, as the facilitator for her circle.

Cath introduced Michelle to Yvonne and together they chatted about who to invite to the Circle. They also clarified their purpose and thought about the ground rules that would support Yvonne to be comfortable throughout her Circle meetings.

Yvonne’s first Circle meeting

At the first Circle meeting, Yvonne, Michelle, Cath and Leanne – who supports Yvonne – were present. They shared tea and biscuits and chatted about how they could support Yvonne to find a volunteering role in a café.

Cath was able to introduce Yvonne to Leonie who runs the luncheon club at the local church. The club is run by volunteers, and about forty people attend every week. Yvonne helps to clear up after the meals are served and loves her new role that the Circle supported her to get.

Yvonne had also mentioned issues with her mobility in her Circle meeting, and she had explained that she had had a couple of falls recently. Michelle mentioned that they run fall prevention classes at her gym, which might be of benefit to Yvonne.

Yvonne now goes to the gym each week without paid support and hasn’t had a fall in three months, which is another incredibly positive outcome that the Circle has supported Yvonne to achieve.

At the next Circle meeting, Pat was introduced as a member of Yvonne’s Circle.

Pat is a Community Circle volunteer who wanted to make a contribution to a new Circle, and has lots in common with Yvonne. She has been able to share local information, which has widened Yvonne’s social life and connections. Six months on from the start of the Circle, Yvonne’s relationships have developed to include ladies at the gym, people at the luncheon club, as well as Pat and Michelle who are now part of her Circle.

New ideas

The original purpose of Yvonne’s Circle was to support her to find a volunteer role in a local café and this was established early on. In Yvonne’s case, she felt that her Circle had helped her to quickly achieve what she wanted to. This then meant that the Circle was able to re-establish a new purpose, and continue to support Yvonne in different ways.

“Even though the people that care for Yvonne are truly special, her networks are small and feel limiting. I would like to be able to facilitate new opportunities for Yvonne and broaden her horizons.”

Michelle, Community Circles facilitator

“The delight in being involved in Yvonne’s Circle has not only come from achieving its purpose, but also recognising the increasing relationships, connections and contributions that are developing.”

Cath, Community Circles Connector