Hours: Variable, approx. 4 – 8 hours per month
Includes some evening and weekend work

About Equal Futures

Equal Futures was set up by a group of parents with a family member who has a learning disability/difficulty, Autism or Aspergers The objective of Equal Futures is to reduce loneliness and isolation for people with disabilities by building Circles of Friendship. The person with a learning disability/difficulty is known as the Focus Person, because they are at the centre of the Circle. The circle is to develop real relationships with a close network of people and to explore the Focus Person’s hopes and dreams and put positive actions into place to achieve their goals.

What does a Circle do?

They will think of ideas to help the Focus Person in having a life with more opportunities. This can include help to:

  • have a better social life
  • support and guidance during a period of change or transition
  • achieve goals and aspirations.

What is a Circle Facilitator?

This is a volunteer who is trained by Equal Futures to bring the Circle together for the Focus Person. We match a Circle Facilitator who gets on well with the focus person. We look for someone who has similar interests and a complementary personality. They will live locally and be keen to be active in their community. The role involves bringing the Circle members together for meetings or social activities. The Circle Facilitator helps everyone have conversations which lead to actions. They follow up on ideas and encourage Circle members to be active participants.

Who are the Circle members?

They can be family, friends or others in the neighbourhood. Circle members might be drawn from the places the person goes to such as groups or local amenities. They could be people invited by the Circle Facilitator. Circle meetings are relaxed and informal. They take place every few weeks, often at the Focus Person’s home or Community Centre.

Key Responsibilities

  • To support the family to define the purpose and activities of their Circle.
  • To support the focus person to be fully included in their community through developing informal networks of friendship.
  • To identify and go with the Focus Person to activities and places which could help in meeting potential Circle members.
  • Making connections and inviting people to participate in the Circle
  • To support the family and Circle members to identify how the Circle can help with current needs, as well as in the future.
  • Ensure that the Focus Person feels involved and able to participate to the best of their abilities
  • Maintaining regular contact with the Focus Person, their family and the Circle members
  • Keeping administration tasks up to date; mainly submitting monthly timesheet and report as well as staying in touch with the Circle

Job Competences Essential

  • Able to facilitate focused conversations which lead to action for the Focus Person
  • Can encourage Circle members to have active roles with the Focus Person
  • Recognise all achievements of the Circle, however small.
  • Able to support the Circle how to overcome challenges and setbacks
  • Able to create solutions which achieve outcomes
  • Strong organisational skills to plan with the Circle and to follow up on ideas
  • Able to be an effective communicator
  • Enthusiastic about making a positive contribution to communities
  • Ability to commit for at least 6 months on a voluntary basis
  • Strong interpersonal and group skills: outgoing, energetic, a good sense of humour, and able to communicate with people who may have communication difficulties.

Desirable

  • Knowledge of community resources where the Focus Person lives
  • Sharing similar interests or willingness to learn what the Focus Person likes to do
  • Understanding of the issues and challenges which can affect people with a learning disability/difficulty Autism or Aspergers and their families
  • Knowledge of and experience in listening to and providing personal support, advocacy and monitoring for people at risk of exclusion is desirable, but not a pre-requisite

Personal attributes

  • Able to actively listen to people
  • Can engage compassionately with others
  • Confident in making the most of networking and building relationships
  • Creative and curious – aware of possibilities.
  • Enjoys the challenges of creating positive changes
  • Pro-active and able to think on your feet
  • Patient and resilient

How we support you

  • Full Induction and other training as required
  • A handbook with guidance and tips for facilitating Circles
  • Ongoing support with regular supervision sessions from the Project Coordinator
  • Mentoring and sessions with other Circle Facilitators
  • Out of pocket costs reimbursed

In addition, Circle Facilitators will share the family’s and Equal Futures’ values. Matches will be made according to compatibility with the individual and/or family for whom the network is to be established.

Some Circle Facilitators are parents or relatives of someone with a disability. Many have a background in community support. People usually have some further education but formal education is not a pre-requisite. All must have the knack of seeing the gifts of people at risk of exclusion and the enthusiasm to inspire others to see these gifts.

How to apply

You can download the Circle Facilitator application form in Word format here.

Please complete the form and email it to Alison Roy at alison@equalfutures.org.uk.

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Contact: Alison Roy alison@equalfutures.org.uk