Community Circles and Community Integrated Care

Community Circles are aiming to develop circles of support at scale, for anyone who through illness, disability or at a particular time in their lives, needs some extra help.

Since a small pilot project in Stockport in 2012 we have grown, both in numbers and the range of people we are working with.  We are currently working with young children through to supporting people at the end of life and working in a variety of settings including home care, hospitals, schools, supported living, hospices and care homes.

After a bold email from Helen Sanderson to Neil Matthewman, CEO of Community Integrated Care, discussing the dream of what could be achieved in a care home, the seeds of a partnership was born.

You can read more about the partnership with Community Integrated Care, Helen Sanderson Associates and Community Circles here

EachStep Blackburn is the first care home to have a Community Circles Connector, and my role is to develop a circle of support for each person living at EachStep; supporting people to stay connected to family, friends and their community, to keep doing the things they have always done or try something new.

As well as the benefits for the individual through their Community Circle, the staff members and care home reap benefits of providing a truly person centred service, develop connections with their local community, gain experience of person centred approaches, develop staff skills and are part of creative, innovative support.

The delight of our partnership with Community Integrated Care is that Community Circles is embedded into the core of how we support people.  It’s not seen as an add on but rather an essential part of our culture and ethos to support people to maintain quality in their lives.

Phil Benson, EachStep Service Manger share his thoughts about Community Circles and our partnership…

“I always worried that the notion of living in a care home and losing connection with what matters to you outside is something we would always struggle to overcome at EachStep. The idea that paid support focuses on what people want and need is usually concentrated on inside the care home and rarely captures the wider picture.

That was until I learned about Community Circles, a way of supporting people to stay connected with their family & friends, and their community. A way for people to keep doing things that matter to them and make their lives better and a way for people to feel like they are important and that they matter because they do!

By working with Community Circles, we hope to be able to support people in an innovative, personalised way and keep them connected with the people, passions, and interests that matter to people most. More than this, we hope that it becomes part of business as usual and that Community Circles become a core part of how we deliver specialist support.

By keeping people part of their community, in contact with the people that matter to them most and doing things that they are passionate or interested in we will be able to support that person to continue to enjoy the quality of life they deserve.”

Over the next few weeks at EachStep, we have review meetings arranged with the people we support, their family and friends to look at what’s working well and what’s not working.  We’ll be asking people “If I could, I would…” thinking about how they would like to spend their time and what will give people quality in their lives.  Conversations so far have included going to each Blackburn Rovers home game, going fishing, getting involved in singing and being part of the local church community.  The purpose of each person’s circle will be how we can enable these things to happen.

We’re excited to see what can be achieved through Community Circles and will keep you posted with our progress.


Cath Barton

Regional Community Circles Connector

EachStep Blackburn