How Community Circles integrate a care home into their local community

 

We’ve recently started working at EachStep Blackburn, a state-of-the-art dementia care home, where Community Circles are built into the core of the person’s support. We’re really excited about the possibilities for circles in care homes, because there are benefits for the people who live there, staff members and the community alike.

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Life doesn’t stop when moving into a care home

Care homes can sometimes exist in a ‘bubble’. Limited mobility or a lack of resources to get people out and about are just some of the reasons why the people who are supported don’t always have the opportunity to connect with the wider community. This is a real shame, as successfully building community connections into a care home model can benefit both the people who live there and the community itself.

The Community Circles model makes it an ideal way to better integrate care homes with their communities. Firstly, it does this by enabling people who know the person well to better support them. In turn, Circles support the care home staff and improving the quality of life of the people by enabling them to achieve more personal outcomes without the need for extra resource.

Here are some of the ways we’re seeing Community Circles connecting people to their wider community:

 

  • Using universal public services Sometimes the purpose of someone’s circle is to support them to go swimming each week or have a volunteer role at the local library. As Community Circles support people to use local services, it can help to support them and keep them running, whilst demonstrating their commitment to working with people who might have needs they need to accommodate. Whilst using the services, people also have the opportunity to interact with others outside their care home.

 

  • Working with faith communities Community Circles can support people to reconnect with their faith communities. For example, Mary’s circle has supported her to develop valued friendships at church and now has members of her parish visit her each week. Her life is now much richer with wider connections. Feedback from working with faith communities is that being involved in Community Circles is a great way for people to put the values of their faith into practice and benefit others who need their support.

 

  • Supporting shops and businesses We have seen Circles support people to use local shops and businesses. This supports local economies and supporting the development of local dementia-friendly communities. Again, it means that the care home is no longer existing in a bubble, and the people working in the businesses can become part of their network of connections too.

 

  • Bringing in and upskilling new volunteers Each Community Circle is supported by a volunteer facilitator. This is someone who can contribute a couple of hours each month to support conversations which lead to action. Being a facilitator is a unique role, where you are invited into the heart of someone’s life, being a part of making a difference. Being a facilitator supports a person’s own wellbeing, and they get to learn new skills too. In this post, Michelle blogs about how being a facilitator has improved her own wellbeing.

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  • Supporting friends and family to maintain their relationships The purpose of a Community Circle may be to support someone to stay connected to family and friends, where they might otherwise find this difficult. This means that relationships aren’t lost when a person moves to residential care, and they stay connected to the outside world, as well as the outside world staying connected to the home. For example, Lynda’s circle helped her friends know how to support her well and what they could do to help.

 

  • Working with businesses to develop their people and make a difference Community Circles has a unique offer to businesses who want to make a contribution to their local community through their corporate social responsibility. Local businesses can support their staff to have a couple of hours a month to facilitate or be a member of someone’s circle. As well as making a contribution to making a difference in someone’s life, staff members gain valuable transferable skills whilst supporting their own wellbeing through giving and connecting with others. You can find out more about our offer by clicking on the image below!

 

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What could you do to support your care home connect to the community?

If you’d like to know more about Community Circles and care homes, contact Cath, Community Circles Connector via e-mail at cath@community-circles.co.uk or on 07979331745 to arrange a chat.