The Circle

Helping Hands from the neighbourhood are only one klick away.

This virtual community service was aimed at the elderly and helped them live their lives the way they wanted to. First, one became a member of The Circle, which costed £30 per year. New members informed The Circle what kind of support they needed and what kind of help they coul give, such as doing the shopping together or doing some digging in the garden. Each person could decide whether they wanted to offer their labour for free or be paid for it. If members needed additional help, both paid and voluntary neighbourhood helpers would be invited to assist.

An online platform made it easier to manage help requests and offers. All Circles financed themselves independently through membership contributions and the paid extra help services.

The project existed from 2009 to 2014 – originally starting with one Circle in a suburb of London, which had refinanced itself after around three years. Despite this, the financing model eventually proved to be unsustainable. Each Circle saved its community roughly £200,000.

flickr CC / Steven Martin

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