Mary’s second cream cake get together

The purpose of a Community Circle is to intentionally build community around a person, each circle has a clear purpose and the circle gets together each month to see what positive difference they can make to the person’s life.

In July we introduced you to Mary and her creamy Community Circle, today Cath, AFG Rochdale Community Circles Co-ordinator shares the story of Mary’s second sweet get together.

As part of the Community Circles process and to develop clear actions that will support the circle moving forward, the second get together takes the form of a particular planning style.

Mary’s second cream cake get together took the form of a person centred review.  Mary’s circle has already established their purpose; to support Mary to reconnect with her church community and develop her friendships. The purpose of the review was to gather detailed information about what is important to Mary, now and for the future, how to best support Mary, think about what is working and not working and developing actions that supports Mary getting the life she wants.

The review involved Mary and her circle members and was facilitated by Helen Smith, Community Circles Coordinator for Greater Manchester. Circle facilitators can come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are given full training and support for their role as facilitator but are not expected to have expertise in person centred approaches.  To support the circle and the facilitator, for the planning meeting we would use external facilitators who would assist with this, rather than trying to train facilitators to be able to use all these processes competently.

One of the ground rules that was agreed at Mary’s first circle get together was to keep Mary at the centre of her circle. Prior to the review Mary had been supported by staff to think about the things that were important to her and what was working and not working in her life. Mary does use some words to speak but prefers to communicate by writing things down. Mary had plenty of time to write down her thoughts; sharing with us that going to church on a Sunday was important to her as well as going to the Welcome Club on Thursdays. Mary also wrote that she liked us all talking, which helped us to know that Mary felt comfortable in her review and was being supported well to stay at the centre of all the conversations.

The delight of a person centred review is the gathering of detailed person centred information and the golden thread which emerges through all the information, from identifying what is important to a person to the actions which are developed to support the person get the life they want.

Actions which have been developed support Mary to have the things which are important to her be present in her life, going to church on Sundays and going to the Welcome Club.  These actions also support the purpose of Mary’s circle; to reconnect her with her faith community and develop her networks and friendships. The circle will continue to support Mary to connect and we hope to extend Mary’s circle in the future and support her to contribute to her church community.

Such possibilities from people coming together with a common purpose.

Learn more about person centred reviews

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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 first cream cake get together