Circle grew from what was initially perceived as an interesting policy innovation through an initial pilot phase and then on to a region-wide trial across London. Some early assumptions evolved for the better and our social outcomes exceeded our expectations. At the same time, the Local Authorities who adopted the Circle model changed from being a select few early innovators to those who just want to provide a better service for less.
London proved to be an invaluable test-bed for Circle. Our first Circle was developed and launched in the London Borough of Southwark in 2009. London provided our first attempt at replicating Circle beyond Southwark as we launched our second Circle in Hammersmith & Fulham in 2010. It was in this spirit, that of innovation and pioneering new ways of working, that London continued its Circle journey.
With the backing of, and investment from, the Cabinet Office we entered into the next phase of Circle in London – that of a region-wide trial.
London Circle became both the legally constituted entity (a Community Interest Company) and the centralised team which was responsible for the overall management, coordination and support of the network of local borough-specific Circles.
The original Local borough-specific Circles (in Southwark and Hammersmith & Fulham) were joined by new Circles serving the communities in Havering and Kensington & Chelsea. Each local Circle maintained an individual identity and responsibility for local delivery – including: liaising and forging relationships with their Members; designing and delivering local services, products and ideas; and delivering local partnerships. The region-wide, London Circle team took on the responsibility of centralising ‘back office function’ across London.
Members continued to interact with their local Circle, a strength and unique feature of Circle which we maintained, however through streamlining our back office function we hoped to bring further benefits to Members:
Our mission was, and is, to support older people to live flourishing independent lives and to be a national exemplar of a different approach to supporting older people. Circle is proud of its successes to date:
We are really proud that we have demonstrated the different ways we can support a good ageing in the UK. Sadly however the current climate of deep cuts in the public sector has made it increasingly difficult to support the growth of London Circle. Circles receive no core funding and whilst we generate revenue from our members, a climate of deep recession and our commitment to serve the whole community meant that London Circle could not be independently sustainable at this time. London CIC therefore made the sad decision to cease trading from the end of March 2014. All financial commitments were met: no London Circle members were left out of pocket and any outstanding membership fees were refunded.
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45