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The CBF Spring Newsletter is Out

The Spring edition of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation’s newsletter is out this week. This time Challenge is all about Circles of Support. We asked Mandy Neville of the Circles network to write our cover article and explain what a circle is and what benefits it can have. You can read her article below.

Circles of Support

Mandy NevilleHaving worked closely with disabled people and their families through her background in both social work and education, Mandy Neville brought over the concept of Circles of Support to the UK from North America, more than 20 years ago. Circles Network have been responsible for the development of more than 100,000 circles in families, schools and communities.

A Circle is a group of people who link together to support an individual, couple or family to achieve a lifestyle that works best for them.  It's a simple but extremely powerful model.

By the age of twelve, Tom's whole life seemed to be collapsing around him; the challenges his behaviour presented were affecting every aspect of his life - home, school, family, friendships, health and mobility.  With the support of his circle of friends who were prepared to promote him to take control, Tom has been able to change his life for the better.

For Chloe, now 21 her Circle started much earlier, when she was at primary school.  Wrapped around her and her family, members of her Circle have weathered many a storm, particularly at times of transition.

Jason was nearing 30 and needed to move home, to a place of his own, with a skilled team of supporters around him. We helped Jason create and facilitate a Circle that would (and did) fight the system and get his life on track.

The person is the key focus of the Circle and it is designed specifically to fit their unique and personal needs.  The aim of the Circle is to help the person identify and express their dreams and wishes and to work together to make these aspirations happen.  Ideally Circle members will support a person for a long time, smoothing out the pits and troughs of the journey of life.

When a Circle works best, all of the members benefit from being involved.  It requires good facilitation, commitment, a mix of skills and experience, bucket loads of compassion and kindness, can do attitudes, creativity and a drive for the right solution.

Some of the best results for people whose behaviour challenges have been born out of the ideas of those with the least experience of disability and service provision.  Being invited to join someone's Circle is a privilege, it's an invitation to share in a person's journey and have your ideas, time and contribution truly valued for the difference you bring.

Mandy Neville is the founder and Chief Executive of Circles Network. www.circlesnetwork.org.uk

You can download the full Spring 2014 edition of the newsletter here.

Pete Crane wrote for us about setting up a circle of support for his son Niki, his you can read his article online here.

Helen, who faciitates Niki's circle has written about her experiences here.

You can also have a look at our new Circles of Support page here.

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