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Spring 2019HMR Circle

A Real Rochdale Success Story

2018 was an incredible year for Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale Circle, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Rochdale, marked with record breaking numbers across all the services ‘HMR Circle’ provides. New services and partnerships were added and visitors from near and far came to see the work HMR Circle does.

One of the major landmarks was in November when HMR Circle took its 30,000th social booking since launching six years ago.

As a mark of how far the organisation has grown, 180 people attended the Circle Christmas party in 2018, back in 2012 it was just four.

HMR Circle has gone on to organise over 2,000 different activities and events, ranging from meeting up for a coffee, going out for meals, quizzes, walks, and talks, all suggested by the members.

Nothing has been off limits with members hot air ballooning across the Lake District, abseiling down Rochdale Town Hall tower and segway driving.

Leanne Chorlton, operations manager at HMR Circle, said: “2018 has been an incredible year, and thanks have to go to our members and volunteers who help make HMR Circle the success it is.”

Circle also provides a practical service which helps with life’s awkward jobs, especially those that older people struggle to get someone out to do. Every day HMR Circle has ‘helpers’ out doing jobs for older people, such as cleaning, gardening, decorating, moving boxes and changing light bulbs, at an affordable, discounted rate.

The practical service completed over 5,000 jobs, - over 10,000 hours of help and support - delivered by DBS checked, trained staff and volunteers.

Kim Ho, special projects coordinator at HMR Circle, said: “A lot of our members rely on the support they get from our practical service; knowing that the fear of rogue traders is removed by using our service means people get jobs done which previously had been left.”

With the demise of the Council for Voluntary Service in Rochdale (CVS), HMR Circle was approached to take over the management for the Volunteer Drivers Service (VDS).

The entire HMR Circle team, along with Mary Burke, who joined the Circle team as the VDS coordinator after previously performing the role at CVS, supported by volunteers, had the VDS up and running with less than two hours disruption.

The VDS takes older people and vulnerable adults to hospital and doctors appointments, day services or to social events. It is a valuable service which relieves a huge burden on statutory services and helps ensure people are able to attend appointments and get the necessary treatment and support they need.

Since HMR Circle took on the VDS, membership of the service has increased by 37%, with an average of over 1,500 requests taken every month.

During 2018 HMR Circle completed an initial pilot working with an organisation called ‘Give & Take Care’ based at Brunel University.

The ‘Give & Take Care’ scheme was the brainchild of the late Professor Heinz Wolff and his colleague Professor Gabriella Spinelli.

HMR Circle was one of a group of pilot areas selected to test this new form of befriending and reward system for volunteers. HMR Circle, performed well above all the other pilot areas, with 41 people supported and over 700 hours of support being delivered.

HMR Circle and Professor Spinelli are working on developing the next phase and it is hoped that further funding will be secured in the near future.

All this successful work has created waves both nationally and internationally.

HMR Circle hosted two delegations from South Korea at the end of 2018, with a film crew from KBS, the Korean equivalent of the BBC, filming a documentary about HMR Circle and how an ageing population in South Korea could be supported.

HMR Circle will be expanding into different areas across the UK, thanks to a strategic partnership with Wellbeing Teams, an organisation headed up by Helen Sanderson.

Locally, HMR Circle is working closely with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing on a social eating programme, aimed at getting socially isolated older people out and about and enjoying food-based activities with friends and neighbours.

Other work is also ongoing with RBH to support older tenants and residents living in RBH neighbourhoods.

With the launch of a ‘Chatter Table’ at Morrisons Supermarket in Rochdale, working with Living Well, people visiting the Morrisons cafe are welcome to join HMR Circle staff and volunteers for a chat whilst taking a break from shopping.

Mark Wynn, director at HMR Circle, said: “The entire team at HMR Circle are incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the last 12 months and we are excited by what is developing for 2019.

“New initiatives, expansion and improvements means that we will continue to be a stellar service for our members and hopefully something the entire town can be proud of as we set new standards in the sector both nationally and beyond.”

For more information:
Contact the HMR Circle office on 01706 751165
isit the HMR Circle website at: