Circles of Support is a preventative approach to wellbeing that supports the building of relationships and the community networks of individuals who experience low levels of social connectedness.

It is a preventative approach to wellbeing that seeks to create and improve connections for individuals so that they feel more supported in their lives.

Social connectedness is related to increased life expectancy; to protection against the development of depression and promotion of recovery from existing depression; and the potential to impact positively on cognitive health. Research also demonstrates that loneliness and social isolation can impact significantly on the wellbeing of a person; with the link between having strong and meaningful social connections and living a healthy and happy life increasingly understood. 

In December 2021, we worked with representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, PAVS, the Heath Board, Public Health, Volunteering Matters, the I-Team (Flintshire) to coproduce a Circles of Support Pilot Project of training and mentorship sessions in Pembrokeshire. The Project was anchored in multi-sectoral partnerships and represented an important commitment to evaluating innovative approaches to prevention and wellbeing in the County. The Project and its evaluation were funded by the Loneliness and Social Isolation Fund of 2021/2022.  

Our team led the evaluation of the Pilot Project, working alongside the commissioner and the delivery team to build the principles of action research into the Project from the outset. Evaluation is considered by partnerships in the County to be an essential element in making decisions about commissioned projects, ensuring valuable learning is captured to inform future investment and activities.