Circles4EU supports the expansion of Circles with a true sustainable European approach, based on programme integrity and research. To achieve this, the project focused on three main actions. The first action aimed at unifying Circles principles, values, standards and processes to ensure European cohesion and model integrity. Within this action, Circles4EU partners formed a network to develop and share European Circles principles, best practices, values, minimum standards and processes, acceptable national versions of the Circles model and common standards and criteria of the network membership.
The second action aimed at high-quality implementation and deliverance of Circles in Europe. To this end, the Circles4EU Network provided various knowledge exchange and training resources and assisted the actual implementation of Circle projects in 3 starting countries: Spain (Catalonia), Latvia and Bulgaria. Next to these countries, three orienting countries were ‘looking over the shoulder’ of the starting countries during study visits and seminars. The network assisted these orienting partners in conducting adaptation studies and preparing their jurisdiction for future Circle projects. This combination facilitated intensive learning and empowerment for the actual and future implementation of Circles in all countries involved. And the network increased the European ‘validity’ of the European Circles Handbook, which was updated on the basis of knowledge and expertise acquired in this project.
The third action aimed at Circles research. A research group within the Circles4EU Network (with representatives of research institutions in participating countries) developed a shared research agenda and research database and supervised all research activities supporting the first and second action. In addition, the research group will initiate international research of Circles effectiveness and of citizen/volunteer support and participation.
On-going dissemination will take place through conferences, a training and resources website, study and training seminars, European awareness raising, and – most important – supporting the partners in realizing structural funding for Circles on a long term basis.