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Shared Lives

SHARED LIVES WEEK - an Opportunity to Improve Lives and Outcomes for Adults with Learning Disabilities


This week is National Shared Lives Week (11-19 October) and to raise awareness and recruit new Shared Lives Carers, Bedford Borough Council is calling for support.


The Shared Lives service supports adults with learning disabilities to experience life in a family setting either long-term or for a short break, or by having support to access community activities such as going to the theatre, cinema, out for meal, visiting the pub or just going for walk and chat.


If you become a Shared Lives Carer you will undergo an assessment and be trained to enable people to access and enjoy a more independent life. You will also receive competitive financial payments on a self-employed basis for the support or sessions that you provide. Sharing your home and life with an adult with learning disabilities, through Shared Lives, can improve outcomes for the individual, and can also have a wealth of positive experiences for the carers involved.


Anyone who lives within Bedfordshire who would like the opportunity to offer support and life experiences to adults with learning disabilities can become a Shared Lives Carer. This can range from a few hours a week or month by helping an individual to access community activities like theatre, swimming or the cinema during the day, evenings or weekends, or by providing short-term respite support and accommodation or alternatively long-term support and accommodation.


Hazel Phillips, a carer who shares the life of a client, said: “I was introduced to the Shared Lives scheme via fostering and met up with a young family who were finding it hard to cope, we took on their child who has now been with us for 14 years. This young person, Annmarie, shares our life, and we feel privileged to be able to share hers. Last year, we all went on holiday with a group of Shared Lives carers and we were absolutely amazed to meet carers sharing their lives with both young and old, and some carers were looking after more than one person, it was inspirational. We have met so many amazing carers through Shared Lives, all very happy and positive people. Annmarie mixes with her own family, yet her horizon is so much broader than being in the care system, she has an identity within our family which has enabled her to thrive. I cherish what I do. People need to know about this scheme, not many do at the moment, and that needs to change. I’m full of admiration for others that chose to share their lives and I’m also very proud of my family for allowing me to do this.”


Cllr Mohammad Yasin, Portfolio Holder for Adults Services at Bedford Borough Council said: “Being a carer working alongside people with learning disabilities can be very rewarding. You could make a difference to someone’s life. Whether it be just spending some time together going for a coffee, a walk, or going to watch a football match, all this and more can really lift the spirits for both parties.”


Are you interested in becoming a carer? If so, the Shared Lives Bedford scheme requires carers to work alongside people with learning disabilities as part of the local service.


For an informal chat, or to find more about open days and promotional days as well as Shared Lives Week, please call (01234) 228426 or email sharedlives@bedford.gov.uk

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