We are a family led organisation set up by a group of parents with a family member with a learning disability. We understand the challenges for
families who want to plan for the future of their relative; including financial security and home. Many people have good Community Care Providers.
However, there is often an unrecognised need to have more than only paid people in their relative’s life –to also have good friends.
What We Do
Equal Futures builds an informal network of people who offer support and friendship around an individual
who is isolated. We call this a Circle. A Circle will ensure someone has more opportunities to be fully
involved in their community and to develop lasting friendships. We set out from the beginning to ensure
that the Circle is there for the lifetime of the person; not just for the years families are around to be
What the Circle is
People volunteer to be members of the Circle, they
are not paid to be there. They come because they
value the person as their friend, and want to ensure
the individual lives a good life and they are prepared
to be actively involved in helping to make this
happen. Members are drawn from all aspects of
someone’s life and can include family and friends,
neighbours and others in the community. Members
are usually part of only one circle, which means a
closer bond develops between all who are involved.
More than Volunteers
There might be times in a person’s life when things are not
going so well. A Circle can work together to think of ideas to
make things better and what they can do to address these
challenges. There is real strength and resilience in this
approach. The commitment which is nurtured in the Circle
means that people feel they are not simply volunteering, but that
they have a supportive and meaningful role to play. They can
see the person grow and flourish as they work together to bring
about and sustain positive change. It also happens that through
being involved the volunteer can gain new skills and
experiences to benefit them in other parts of their life.
How We Build a Circle
Equal Futures employs a Community Connector
who facilitates the person’s Circle. The individual
who has a Circle is known as the Focus Person.
We aim to match a Community Connector who
has common interests and values with the
person. We also try to find someone who lives in
the Focus Person’s local community, and who
has strong links to the people and activities in
that area. This promotes interaction and
acceptance within the community, which in turn
adds to the sense of belonging that the person
with disabilities has.
The Foundation for People
with Learning Disabilities
has produced an easy read
guide to Circles of Support.
Equal Futures, 21 Walker Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7EX Tel: 0131 226 5454
Copyright Equal Futures 2016 Design by You Can Learn It Ltd
Our Staff Team
Gordon Clayton talks to Alison Roy and Clodagh
First broadcast on 30th January 2016
Black Diamond FM 107.8- Community Works and