Sutton Mencap has developed an initiative called Circles of Support – this article explains what the objectives are and how to get involved.
Circles of support – Focusing on the positive and the possible
I support people in Sutton who have a learning disability to develop a Circle of Support. A group of people who know them well to think about what’s working and not working in their lives, decide what they want to change and take action to make it happen. Bringing people together enables the sharing of ideas and builds relationships, it can connect people and community, help plan for the future and achieve dreams.
Some circles are just two or three people, others 6-10, they are all individual. My first step is to work with the person (or their family) to help them think about the networks they already have but sometimes the person is isolated so we need to ‘intentionally’ invite support workers and community members to join in to get that circle started.
Circle members make a contribution of time by coming to circle meetings, share ideas and offer practical and emotional support. We all have a wealth of skills, knowledge and assets that can make a difference to a person’s life, it’s all about knowing what is needed, when and how. Being a member of a person’s circle is not just a one way relationship, members feel valued in the gifts they offer.
Some people offer to visit the focus person for a meal, strengthening friendship between them, others offer to help with paperwork, research, financial or future planning using their skills. Others offer support to the family by sharing experiences.
If you think you know a person who would benefit from having a Circle of Support, would like to be a volunteer member of one or just want to know more, I can be reached on 020 8647 8600 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org