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September 26, 2019
New program “Circles” that helps to lift individuals out of poverty is looking for local allies

“Circles” program helps breakdown barriers to poverty by partnering those looking to break free of poverty with middle-class support allies

Oxford County is launching a new program called “Circles” that will help to lift individuals in our community out of poverty. The “Circles” program, which aligns with the County’s Draft Zero Poverty Plan, helps tackle poverty by breaking down barriers and partnering those looking to break free of poverty with middle-class support allies. As part of the program launch, Oxford County is looking for local allies to volunteer their time and support for “Circles” program participants called “Leaders.”

According to the 2017 Oxford Community Health Report, 10.8 per cent of people in Oxford County are living with low income. Of the 11,835 residents living with low income, 27 per cent were reported to be children under the age of 17, and four per cent live on an income too low to cover basic needs.

“Circles” is an intensive 18-24 month voluntary program that includes weekly meetings where Circles members – Leaders, Allies and Coaches – come together to enjoy a meal, connect, share and learn from one another. The meetings also help Leaders to develop meaningful action plans to drive positive change, lifting the individual (and their family) out of poverty and into a place of self-sufficiency. Each Leader is paired with at least one Ally, during the program.

Individuals interested in becoming Circles Allies in Oxford County should visit the program’s website to download the volunteer application form. Allies are asked to make a two-year commitment to the “Circles” program, which involves attending weekly meetings (which include supper) to support Leaders, for a total of six to 10 hours a month. A criminal reference check is also required. Those interested in becoming Allies will receive special training through a workshop prior to the program’s official launch in November 2019. The deadline for Allies to submit their application to participate in the program is October 7, 2019.

Individuals participating as “Leaders” in the “Circles” program in Oxford are those looking to lift themselves (and their families) out of poverty. Leaders may be receiving social assistance, or working poor and are required to complete a program called “Getting Ahead” prior to beginning the Circles program.

For more information about the “Circles” program in Oxford County, how to become an Ally, or how to become a Leader, please visit   


Social media and online content

Facebook: Circles Oxford County (coming soon)
Facebook: Oxford County 


About Circles

Based on research and 24 years of working with communities across North America, “Circles” has developed one of the most effective programs to support lifting individuals and their families out of poverty. The program brings together community resources and helps formulate a plan to begin the end of poverty in specific communities. “Circles” is unique in that it partners people from all socioeconomic backgrounds together to help increase the prosperity of individuals, families and the community. The program works to build community resources, relationships, and understanding to bridge the gap between poverty and overall well-being. “Circles” envisions a community where everyone has enough resources, relationships and hope to thrive.


About Oxford County

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 119,000 people across eight area municipalities that are “growing stronger together.” As a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government, Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, becoming a zero-waste community, and working towards zero poverty. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that serves as a springboard for some of the sustainable industries that are steadily diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit or follow our social media sites at Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at



Jenn Austin | Strategic Communication & Engagement
519.539.9800, ext. 3505 |    

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