Community Circles in Maghull

It was a year ago since I trained a wonderful group of people to become circle facilitators; all of them were linked to the churches that I was working with to develop Community Circles. One of the people; Cerys, that went on to facilitate a circle has used her own connections to develop the work of Community Circles. She introduced me to Rev. Nick Wells; Area Dean for Ormskirk Deanery in the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool.

Nick had been thinking about how his churches could support the local Virtual Ward* in Maghull. He saw the church as having a role to play in people’s holistic and spiritual well-being as part of the virtual ward, but could not work out how the pastoral care team in the church could practically do this role. When Cerys told him about Community Circles, it seemed to be the perfect approach to enable the church to support the virtual ward.

Having met with Nick and talked about our ideas, we arranged for me to come and speak on a Sunday morning to the congregations at the churches in Maghull. I was given a very warm welcome at three churches in the parish and I was able to share some of the work I had done in West Lancashire. The most powerful words came from people already involved in a circle:

‘My Community Circle has given me back the opportunity to be me.

I’ve rekindled old friendships and now have dates in my diary to meet for coffee,

a walk, lunch and spiritual time.

The conversations no longer centre around my grief and heartache but my love of literature, wildlife, faith and most importantly I have remembered how to laugh and enjoy life.’

Stella, about her own circle


‘The person at the centre of the circle has living proof that they are genuinely cared for and the

members of the circle feel they

are no longer struggling alone,

trying to support their friend.’

Viv, Circle Facilitator


These real experiences, along with me sharing my experience of how Community Circles fits my values as a Christian, spoke loudly to people. As a result, we now have five people who will be training to become circle facilitators in November.

The Community Circles will be for people who are within the Virtual Ward in Maghull. Through my contact with Sefton CVS, I met with Health and Well-being Trainer; Sharon McFarlane, who invited me along to the Maghull Virtual Ward team to tell them about how Community Circles could work in a way to support the work of the virtual ward. The team understood how a circle could compliment the work of the Virtual Ward team and were able to think of many people who would benefit from a circle.

November will be a busy month of training for the facilitators and also working with the Maghull Virtual Ward team to meet with people who would like a circle.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this next step on making circles happen for more people who want one.


*Virtual Ward provides co-ordinated Health and Social Care for patients who are at high risk of emergency admission to hospital – such as those with long term conditions and frail or vulnerable older people.

See here for more information


By Helen Smith