We are growing old and the oldest old (80+) are the nation’s fastest growing population group. Our current systems – from pensions to social care – were not designed with this challenge in mind. Working collaboratively with older people I have been considering both social and emotional challenges such as loneliness and practical challenges: what sort of help and care do we need as we age and from whom. This work led to the invention of Circle, membership organisations that provide social connections and practical support. Circle provides a working exemplar of a future national approach to good ageing and a deeply human and affordable way of thinking about care.