The Circle Of Friendship Program, funded by The Big Lottery Fund, aims to help young visually impaired individuals and their sighted peers form deeper connections with themselves, their peers and environment.
The program in-compasses 10 day sessions, delivered within nature, monthly around significant natural changing times during the seasons of the year.
Creative activities, relating to significant points in the cycle, are arranged for each session, by creative art and music practitioners, marking the significant points of the cycle in the year that correspond to internal archetypal feelings and cycles of relating. These activities do not direct the youngsters in their understanding of themselves and their ways of relating but rather shine a light on the area covered.The delivery of the sessions are experiential, person centred and non directive in relation to each youngsters personal exploration of the activities. Counsellors, Eco- Therapists and Social Workers are their to meet the emotional needs of the youngsters participating and experiencing the activities.
Each session offers the young people involved a chance to experience a deeper connection with an important point of reference within the changing year and at at the same time identify the unique archetypal corresponding feelings within themselves and share these with the other peers involved.
Experiencing and sharing these natural and the important shifts in the year, that correspond to the individual archetypal understanding of self and relationship with others, facilitates a deeper shared experience of each other throughout the course of the year.
Barriers to relating, such as ingrained unconscious prejudices, relating to differences, that start to form at this early age can be explored and sensitively re evaluated through sharing a common ground that reflects a unique but shared archetypal points of reference within each individual.
There are a total of 9 sessions including an initial introduction session. The further eight sessions following, mark the internal and external points in the cycle and are as follows. In-between there are opportunities for building the connection and deeper friendship in the form of lunchtime dropins.
1. Awakening/ Sensing.
2. Awareness and Recognition of ourselves, environment and others within it .
3. Motivation and Mobilisation of ourselves relating to our awareness and recognition of others and environment.
4. Power and Action, our own presence and involvement within the bigger picture
5. Abundance and Sharing together
6. Experiencing Gratitude and satisfaction together.
7. Reflection/ looking within, relating to our past and roots.
8. Stillness and finding Internal sanctuary within.
The cycle highlights to these youngsters the potential benefits of self reflection creating a path to self awareness. The cycle also highlights that our internal patterns, relationships and relationship to our environment is not linear and puts emphasis on our own instincts to move through life in a cyclical fashion, often returning to a rejuvenated place after self reflection or withdrawal.
As with all individuals, youngsters, particularly when relating to others, need time to find themselves and build a sense of self confidence and identity to feel whole.
As well as providing an opportunity for the young individuals to form deeper connection with themselves, their peers and their natural environment, the sessions also offer vital respite for parents and carers of the youngsters, allowing them to recharge and feel rejuvenated which intern helps to facilitated more rewarding family relating and connecting.