Lynda’s Circle, starting the journey

As part of our social responsibility and commitment to contributing to the wider community, Cath Barton’s role as AFG Community Circles Coordinator doesn’t only involve working with people with learning disabilities but also those living with dementia in Rochdale.

Today Cath Barton, AFG Rochdale Community Circles Co-ordinator shares the start of Lynda’s circle journey …

I met Lynda and her husband Alan at the Carer’s Resource Centre where I had gone to talk about Community Circles.  After chatting with Lynda and Alan, they decided that a circle would be really useful and we started to think about how to make it happen.

Myself, Alan and Lynda chatted about Community Circles and used the relationship map to think about the people in her life and who she would like to invite to her circle.  As facilitator, when I got in touch with people to invite them to the circle, there was a common response of “Oh, that sounds lovely” and lovely it was.

Lynda is warm, welcoming, kind and patient. She has been married to Alan for over 30 years, meeting as childhood sweethearts, they have two grown up sons and two grandsons.  Family is really important to both Lynda and Alan and delight spreads across her face when she talks about them.

At Lynda’s first circle get together family joined in via Skype (even grandsons sneaked down from bedrooms to wave to us all) and friends came filling the living room with a delightful energy that comes from people coming together for a common purpose. The purpose of Lynda’s circle is to maintain her friendships and support her well-being.

We had a round of introductions and then all shared a happy memory of a time spent with Lynda. This included time spent working together when younger, when they first met as friends, having their Christian faith in common, watching a show together and spending time chatting over lunch. One couple reminisced how they were introduced to each other by Lynda nearly 40 years ago. Lynda’s husband Alan shared this photo of Lynda when she younger, “the moment I fell in love with her.”

Through conversations we are already beginning to discover what good support looks like for Lynda and will be exploring this further next time at Lynda’s person centred review.

There was a lovely feeling in the room, friendships based on history and shared interests, lots of laughter and relaxed company. Circles are an intimate gathering, where you are invited into the heart of a family, where all contributions are valued, where positive changes can be made.  It’s a real privilege to facilitate Lynda’s circle and be part of the journey.

To find out more about Community Circles:

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For further details or if you have any questions please contact Cath, AFG Rochdale Community Circles Co-ordinator on 07824096056 or

Read about Mary’s Circle