Making a difference with Community Circles at EachStep Blackburn





I’m based at EachStep Blackburn, Community Integrated Care’s specialist dementia care home.  My role is to develop a Community Circle for each person that lives here, enabling them to stay connected to family, friends and community, keep doing the things they have always done that matter to them or try something new.

Each circle has a clear purpose and for Ken, it’s to keep him involved in cooking.

There are lots of things I love about circles, things which continue to delight me and new things that I learn.

I love that a monthly meeting brings the person, family and friends together to have a focussed conversation about what really matters to someone, what we can do that makes a difference, an opportunity for everyone to share their ideas and make a contribution.  When I was first involved with Community Circles I thought the circle meeting was the catalyst for all the good stuff that happens in between.  I’m learning that the circle meetings are a huge part of the good stuff.  The monthly meetings support everyone to have a voice, share ideas and reflect on what’s working and what need to change.  It’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, where the conversation focusses on the person.  It’s always a really relaxed environment, we start with an opening round, where we share some good news since last time we met, which helps us to connect on a personal level and for us all to get to know each other better.  After all, it’s our relationships that matter.  Ken is always engaged at his circle meetings and loves to share his top tips for stews and favourite recipes with everyone.

I love the willingness of people wanting to make a contribution.  Anne, who facilitates Ken’s circle got in touch after hearing about the role of the facilitator on Twitter.  The role of the facilitator is for someone who can contribute a couple of hours a month, to come to each circle meeting and support the conversation.  As well as this being a great contribution to make to someone, it also supports our own wellbeing through giving and connecting with others.  Anne was matched to Ken as they both share a love of cooking.

I continue to be delighted at the ideas that are shared at a circle meeting, the creativity and desire to develop actions.  Ken’s circle meeting shared ideas about how we could support him to keep involved in cooking.  As Ken loves stews and prepping the vegetables, Anne suggested getting a slow cooker and has offered to come and support Ken one Saturday morning to prepare his stew.  He can then enjoy the meal he’s made with his family that evening.

Community Circles are a fabulous thing to be involved in; it’s all about community, contribution and making a difference to people, and for Ken cooking.  Really looking forward to hearing how delicious the stew was


Cath Barton

Community Circles Connector