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This “Scaling up Shared Lives in Health” blog will focus on Bolton, where the Bolton CCG, in conjunction with GMW and Bolton Council, have been successful in receiving NHS England funding to develop Shared Lives in the area.

The new funding will enable the Shared Lives scheme, which is run by Bolton Cares (Bolton Council’s local authority trading company), to offer more arrangements for vulnerable adults to stay with trained Shared Lives carers in family homes, as an alternative to being admitted to hospital or before they return to their own home after a hospital stay.

Shared Lives is already a popular option for older people in Bolton, but this funding will mean the scheme can expand, to offer more support to people with mental health needs and offer an alternative option for people following a stay in hospital, before they return home to their own homes.

Some people have had to move outside of Bolton to receive the support they need in specialist mental health settings, but this programme will work to bring people back into Bolton, but within the support of a family home to ensure they remain safe and well within their communities.

Bolton have run a well-established Shared Lives scheme for over 30 years, and on 31st July 2016, Bolton Care and Support Ltd began trading as Bolton Cares, to continue providing a range of care and support for adults in the community, of which the Shared Lives scheme is one of the options. 

The project will provide employment for 1 new co-ordinator at Bolton Cares in the first year, as well as self-employment opportunities for many more Shared Lives carers. The closing date for the co-ordinator post is 28th February, for details please see: http://www.boltoncares.org.uk/work-with-us/

Chief Executive of Bolton Cares, John Livesey, said: “Shared Lives a wonderful service that really works for the benefit of both service users and carers. The people who use our service become part of a loving family and our carers are experienced in what they do and get so much fulfilment from helping others.

“Since forming Bolton Cares as a not-for-profit company, this is the first major funding boost for us and shows commitment from our partners to developing and improving local adult social care services. We’re delighted with the outcome and looking forward to recruiting more carers and meeting new service users.”

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, Chair of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Over the past few months NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group has been working in partnership with Shared Lives, Bolton Council and Greater Manchester Mental Health Services (GMMHS) on a bid to access match funding for a three year project with Shared Lives Plus and NHS England. 

“I am delighted that Bolton has been awarded this funding as one of only five CCG areas across England and Wales.  The bid concentrated on improving access to Shared Lives and as a result more positive outcomes for people with mental health needs and/or learning disabilities.”

Karen Wolstenholme, Registered Manager of Shared Lives in Bolton is “delighted with the success of being able to grow and expand services in this area and looks forward to successful “matching” which will enable people to live to their lives to their full potential in the community of their choice.”


Published in NHS Project Blog
We have launched our Facebook page as a platform for Shared Lives carers to connect with each other, share their experiences and support each other with an online community.
You can find our Facebook page here.
We thought the best way to do this, is to have Shared Lives carer, Andy Cooke, write a guest blog about his Shared Lives arrangement with James. Andy and James, do a lot of work to promote Shared Lives, they have attended many of our events and have featured in an NHS blog.
Rather than us writing and telling you all a Shared Lives story, we thought that it would be best coming from a Shared Lives carer.
Andy Cooke wrote in and told us his story about his life with James.
“James and I have been in a Shared Lives arrangement, in Herts, for just over six years.  Before then James had spent over 20 years in specialist residential care. Moving into a small town community was a huge step for James and a steep learning curve for Andy and the family. Really, settling in takes time, probably about 3 years- building confidence, independence and most important for me, James having a normal life.  There have been times when James has been very poorly, numerous hospital admissions, but now with lots of things to do his health has significantly improved.
A couple of years ago, I asked James what sort of life he wanted. James said, ‘more friends and a paid job’. This is what we set out to do together.  James now has friends at his favourite local café and in the pub down the road. He works in the Country Market, selling tea and coffee and meeting local people. James works in a local shop, not a charity shop, gets training and has made lots of friends. He is on the last day of a 12 week course at the moment with a large supermarket- and he may be offered a paid job. Throw in some Karate, which he was told he should never do, bird watching, photography and voting for the first time in his life you have a citizen, and as James says ‘I feel part of the town’. This has taken time with me  supporting James a lot at first so that he can make those vitally important community connections."
James and Andy have done some work with Shared Lives Plus that has meant travel around the country and brilliant experiences for them both.
Andy: "All the above is good but what really matters is that James feels a part of the family.  Sitting watching some favourite programmes, having meals together, my wife Laura and James making Christmas cakes, going to Ikea, choosing and giving birthday presents, looking after Bronte, the dog and going to the pub. Pretty normal stuff really- that’s great! Anyone who would like to connect with us, talk to us, and meet with us – we would love to hear from you.”
You can follow Andy on Twitter: @andydcooke
We would like to thank Andy for writing in to us and telling his Shared Lives story. If anyone else would like to do the  same, and connect with other Shared Lives carers, please contact Hannah Cain, from the Communications team by emailing her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
James and Andy James at polling station

Published in News
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:54

What makes a special Shared Lives Christmas?

Christmas can be a hard time for many people, for various reasons. It may be financial troubles, missing loved ones or loneliness, whatever the reasons, Christmas is not always enjoyable for people.

That’s why this year we wanted to really highlight what Shared Lives carers and our care model does for people who use our services. People who have mental ill health, learning disabilities, dementia and long-term illnesses often come to Shared Lives from traditional, institutionalised care and are looking for a more independent life. Shared Lives allows them to become involved in their local community, through the help of their Shared Lives carer- they begin to create and build on goals they want to achieve, whilst living in a Shared Lives arrangement.

One Shared Lives carer highlighted this heart-warming Christmas memory with us:

“Our favourite memory is of someone who has since passed away, he was 72 when he came to stay with us. On the first Christmas Eve we heard his bedroom door clicking, on investigation, we found he kept peeping out of his room to see if Father Christmas had come yet, because he wanted to shake his hand - it brought a tear to our eyes."

Darren Shared Lives carers from Guideposts, Natalie and Darren:

“Darren always smiles his way through the year. He celebrated his 18th birthday at Centre Parks and enjoyed his first pint! We have been camping in Dartmouth, and skiing in Samoens, France at Christmas .We are going again this year and Darren has been learning to ski throughout the year.”

Throughout Christmas many Shared Lives schemes throw events and raise awareness and one scheme highlighted their favourite Christmas party from two years ago.

Bettertogether ( formerly Shared Lives Scheme Newham) had a memorable wonderful Christmas get together party and got a grant of £500 (five hundred!!!) from Shared Lives Plus.

Anne Kasibante, from Bettertogether: "I still salivate when I think of the food..People danced and we had time to spread christmas cheer."

 One thing we love to do at Christmas with Shared Lives is to really try and spend time together and build our relationships with schemes, Shared Lives carers and Ambassadors.

Jenni Kirkham, NHS Programme Officer and our Ambassador, Michael shared their favourite Christmas moment with us- it was the day they first met each other.

Jenni and Michael 2

They wrote this together: “These photos are from last Christmas- it was brilliant because it was the first time we had all met each other and started a lovely friendship between all of us. We all met up 

again for Michael’s birthday early in the year, and went to watch The Jungle Book at the cinema. Michael baked flapjacks for us to eat in the film- much better Jenni and Michael 2than popcorn! We’re all looking forward to another Christmas together again this year, because we will get to spend a day together and see each other again. Jenni is especially looking forward to eating the Christmas cake that Michael made with her mum Judith earlier this year!

For many Shared Lives carers Christmas is as special for them, as the people they share their life, home and family with.

Lisa Gunn, 47, from Gateshead Shared Lives scheme, looks after a 93 year old lady. She believes that despite their age difference they have developed a fabulous friendship in the last 18 months.

She said: “The special times Grace and I share together are the simplest. We sit next to each other on the sofa having heart to hearts, daily moans and groans, laughs and tears along the way, as good friends sharing quality time together so often do. She is an absolute pleasure to be with.

Heather Cooke, from one of our partner organisations PSS, sent us these lovely pictures from first PSS TRIO Christmas Party.

John and Eva

This was the first PSS TRIO Christmas Party John and Eva have attended since John was diagnosed with Dementia. They both really enjoyed themselves and felt fully supported.

They had light entertainment from a local Drama School and a Christmas sing along which was enjoyed by all.

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent in all their greatest Christmas memories and moments, over the years. It really is a great way for everyone to see the value of Shared Lives, and how much of a difference our care model makes to peoples lives, not just at Christmas but all year round.

You can see more pictures and Christmas memories by following our Twitter account: @SharedLivesPlus. and you can also join in by using #SharedLivesFestiveFun to publish all your Christmas pictures and moments with Shared Lives!

Published in News

Shared Lives has been overwhelmed by responses to our request for Christmas memories and moments, over the years.

This year we wanted to celebrate Christmas with a look back at how Shared Lives carers and the people they open their life, home and family too, celebrate the festive season.

We have been inundated with heart-warming, fun and meaningful memories from Shared Lives carers and schemes.

This year’s Christmas theme is to showcase the relationships developed through Shared Lives- and what it means to the people who use our services.

We also wanted to show everyone what a Christmas with Shared Lives is all about- as many of our Shared Lives carers may not use social media.

One Shared Lives carer, Loraine Muir, sent me her greatest Christmas moment with Leslie, who she has known for 13 years.

Leslie 1

 “I am Lori, a Shared Lives Carer in Horsham with the West Sussex Scheme. In that capacity I have known Leslie, a sixty year old gentleman, for thirteen years. Last year following a significant bereavement I thought it would be a positive experience for us both to visit Longleat Festival of Light with my Daughter and Grandchildren.

We stayed nearby the night before so we could make the most of the day. It was everything I had hoped for and more. From seeing all the magnificent animals to the boat ride, it was immensely enjoyable for our three generation group. However, as Leslie loves birds the daytime highlights was feeding the colourful Lorikeets, and the Parrot show, which made him laugh out loud. 

Leslie 3

As it grew dark and the lights were turned on the atmosphere became completely magical. We walked around the visual displays in awe and wonder. The many photographs taken were put in an album for Leslie and he proudly took it with him to show to his friends. It was a very special and uplifting occasion for us all but it was particularly heart-warming to see how much Leslie enjoyed himself.”Leslie 5


We would like to thank Loraine for sharing one of her and Leslie's favourite festive moments, and everyone else who has sent theirs in to us. Merry Christmas from everyone at Shared Lives, please continue to send in all your best Christmas memories and pictures spent with Shared Lives!






Published in News

As the challenges of austerity continue after the Autumn Statement was announced- with social care seemingly taking a back seat to other priorities, there has never been a more appropriate time to demonstrate what the Shared Lives care model can achieve.

The Shared Lives care model is a personalised form of care that focuses on developing people’s independence and capabilities. People that live with learning disabilities, long-term illnesses, mental health problems and dementia. This is achieved through setting up a ‘shared life’ arrangement were people who have trained to become a Shared Lives carer invite someone who uses Shared Lives services into their home. They make the person feel like they belong and they are surrounded by friends- in a family environment. The focus of the arrangement is based around the goals of every individual, what they want and need from life, the support and integration into their local communities- in a family environment that will support and encourage them to live the best quality of life possible.

Rose spent over 20 years living in a residential placement before moving to live with a Shared Lives carer, in April 2016. Rose has a complex and profound learning disability, very limited verbal communication and is in some ways a very vulnerable young woman. Historically, Rose was labelled ‘challenging’. It was clear she needed several Shared Lives carers for different support needs.

Rose now lives with Maxine, and has support from four other Shared Lives carers who provide day support and overnight ‘breaks’ for Maxine, who is a Shared Lives carer is Derby.

Rose loves horse-riding, swimming, going for a coffee and socialising. Going to church has been a big feature in her life.

It was the smile that won Maxine over and, for several months now, Rose has had possibly the most settled and community-based support of her life.

Heather is one of the Shared Lives carers who supports Rose in the day. She says, “My friend is a child minder and she lives over the road. When Rose comes on a Tuesday and Friday, Susan always pops over for an hour and Rose loves to spend time with the children… Rose absolutely loves children...”

Introductions continued for around 6 months, an afternoon, a full day, and then two days a week. These were maintained when Rose went from hospital to a respite provider- it was too soon to attempt a move straight to Maxine’s. Rose eventually had an overnight at Maxine’s and this went really well. Training and countless meetings for the Shared Lives carers, including Rose’s mum and family were arranged and everything went very well.

After a few problems and difficulties in their initial meeting, they both began to build a relationship and Maxine gained Rose’s trust. At present, they have a great connection and understanding of one another, and Rose is now able to share her everyday life and activities with Maxine which was unimaginable two years ago.

Another Shared Lives carer, Julie, says: “It’s the highlight of my week. I really look forward to Rose coming here. I just get so much from it, so much in return.”

Monica takes Rose horse-riding and this is her favourite time of her week. Monica also supports a gentleman long term. He and Rose have made a really valuable and genuine friendship. “They both love spending time together. It’s simply two people who have really clicked and enjoy each other’s company.”

Maxine has included Rose in all aspects of her life….Truly shared her life: “My mum loves coming round and seeing Rose... Rose has made a big impact on the others at Church and is warmly welcomed each week and included in everything… Rose brings a richness to my life, has a real sense of humour and real character…”

Rose has now been at Maxine’s for almost one year. There have been ‘incidents’ and challenges, but everyone involved in Rose’s life agrees that this has been a real success. Rose is leading a ‘normal’ life in her community, with people in her life who care and take an active interest in her life, expand, develop and create fresh experience and opportunities. Rose’s social circle has grown significantly and will continue to do so.

Some arrangements can be challenging but not impossible. Shared Lives Worker, Dean Davis and Ordinary Lives Team Social Worker, Naomi Fearon, have worked very hard ‘thinking outside the box’ to make this arrangement work for Rose so successfully.

Published in News

In the spirit of #AntiBullyingWeek we at Shared Lives would like to share a story from our colleagues at PSS. This story to us demonstrates what can be achieved when people inspire others- and help them in achieving their goals and aspirations in life.

Our Shared Lives carers play a huge part in helping the people they share a life with gain independence, set and achieve the goals they want and live the best quality of life they can. 

So this #AntiBullyingWeek we are sharing Mitch’s story, to show that if people work together to support, engage and inspire each other, people can overcome barriers they face in life, whatever their situation may be.

Mitch takes the express train to a new career

Mitchell (or Mitch as he prefers to be called) is a 21 year old man who’s lived with his carers, Linda & John Frost, since the age of nine. At the time they were foster carers but Linda and John wanted to continue supporting him as an adult so they transitioned with him to become PSS Midlands Shared Lives Carers.

Throughout his life Mitchell has experienced first-hand how it feels to face barrier after barrier and the disappointment of having people telling him, ‘you cannot achieve things others find ordinary’ or being excluded from every-day regular activities just because people had no understanding of his condition and how to approach him, and not enough patience in order to adjust means, resources, explanations, processes etc in order for Mitch to feel and be included.

Nevertheless Linda & John would just ‘’ Not have it’’, every time a barrier was there for Mitch they would also be there to help him find a way around it. Mitch’s dream since childhood was to work at the railway and here is his story as he has expressed it himself:

‘’Hi my name is Mitchell Grant.

I have lived with Linda and John Frost for 11 years, I was in foster care. I wanted to stay with Linda and John when I reached 18 years old I then moved over to PSS and happily stay with Linda and John. 

Since the age of 8 I have always wanted to work with the railway, I love trains I have always told Linda and John how much I love trains, I would love one day to work on them.

Linda and John have always listened to this I did tell school and College but I get kept getting told I couldn’t do it for health and safety reasons because I have a learning difficulty. Linda and John did not settle for this and said that I should have the same chance and choice as anyone else should, so they contacted the careers officer, she came to see us all and said she had heard of volunteering at Kindsgrove station, she promised that she would talk to them and see if it is possible for me to do that.

 She got back to us after a week and said yes they were willing for me to go there and she even offered to support me there for the first few weeks.

I then got spotted by East midlands train’s manager because I was doing that well and there was a pilot scheme coming up, which started September 4th to October 4th , the pilot scheme was to get people with special needs to come into the railway industry and we achieved that over the next four weeks. The manager also said a couple of weeks ago, that there are 2 new people waiting to start work there now, both with learning difficulties. 

A couple of months after I finished that training I had a phone call saying there was a Saturday job at Sheffield, doing train cleaning 9-5 and it was mine if I wanted it, so I said yes and I have been doing it every Saturday since December the 7th 2015.

 They said in a years’ time I could be working on board, doing on board stuff such as cleaning tables and taking cups.

I have achieved this with determination from myself and support from Linda and John, they said if I had a dream, ‘’I should go for it’’ so I did, and they supported me all the way

This was Mitch’s touching story, a story which comes to prove that our service user’s get the individualised support they need in order to achieve their dreams on the road for independent living.

From every one of us in PSS, a very big ‘well done’ to Mitch for his resilience, dedication and determination to make his dream come true and a very big well done to his carers Linda and John for giving him all the support and guidance in order to make his dream reality.

Shared Lives Plus would like to thank PSS and Mitch for sharing their story to show what can be achieved when people work togther, encourage and help one another.

Published in News
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 14:32

A great week of news for Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives Plus in the news

There has been lots going on with Shared Lives Plus recently and we’re busier than ever, so we thought we would give you all a round-up of recent news.

The Biggest news of the week is Homeshare featuring on Sky news and launching their new Twitter account which we are encouraging everyone to follow: @Homeshare_UK.

In other news, there is a new Shared Lives scheme in Cumbria

Cumbria County Council have launched a Shared Lives scheme to match adults who need support with host carers who already provide day support, respite and long term care in the carer’s home.  The new scheme also means the council are now recruiting new Shared Lives carers to provide our care model, and they are also encouraging potential carers to get in touch.

You can read the full story here.

Related article here

This new scheme has led to Shared Lives being in the newspaper, Cumberland News' with a feature of Shared Lives carer, Libby Potts. You can read her story here.

Two schemes recieve a GOOD from CQC

South West Shared Lives has made local news after receiving a GOOD from CQC. The Herald Express did and article and shared pictures, you can access the article here.

Bexley Shared Lives also made local news for receiving a GOOD from CQC, which also reported that Shared Lives carers supported people to be independent, and that the management for this scheme was greatly appreciated by carers and the people they support. The full Bexley Times article can be accessed here.

This is our perfect #Tuesdaymotivation to keep working hard and spread awareness of Shared Lives Plus and Homeshare to every person who could benefit from our services.


Published in News


Hello everyone and welcome to our latest blog on our work with NHS England. You may have recently seen Fiona Clark’s guest blog on the NHS England website, if not you can read it here.

Shared Lives Plus have had a hectic few weeks with the NHS programme, Fiona and Jenni are still travelling around the country on their journey to visit Shared Lives schemes and CCGs who are applying for match funding to develop Shared Lives for health in their area. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for both, but they have been ‘privileged’ to meet so many dedicated people along the way.

Last week Fiona and Jenni took park in a Shared Lives Plus seminar on Intermediate Care, giving presentations and leading workshops.


intermediate care


There were nearly 70 delegates from across England and Wales and they were a mix of people such as health commissioners, hospital staff, social care workers and Shared Lives.

Jenni Kirkham, NHS Programme Officer says: “It was great to be with so many people who are keen to work with us to develop a Shared Lives model for Intermediate Care and the next year is going to be exciting to watch Shared Lives schemes recruiting carers who are ready to support people at their homes following a stay in hospital. “

The areas who are applying for match funding for the NHS England programme have until the end of September to get their final applications in to us. Shared Lives Plus and NHS England will be making the decision as to which areas will receive match funding in the first week of October and we hope to make the public announcement in mid-October, in Shared Lives week. Check out our Twitter account (@SharedLivesPlus) for updates on all NHS related information and announcements on Shared Lives Plus week, including the annual Parliamentary Reception on 19 October 2016.

With Jenni and Fiona travelling the country at the moment, working with and visiting schemes and CCGs, now is the perfect time for everyone to get to know the faces behind the great work that Shared Lives Plus is doing with NHS England.

This week we will be learning all about Jenni Kirkham, our NHS Programme Officer, who as all our staff will tell you is very enthusiastic about not only her   own work with the NHS but developing and spreading awareness of Shared Lives as a whole.

I sat down with Jenni earlier in the week for a chat about her career so far and her work with developing Shared Lives with the NHS.

Jenni, Can you tell me about your career so far and how it has lead to you working on the NHS programme for Shared Lives Plus?

“My career to date has been varied, but has the common denominator is that it has always involved working with people. In my early days I got a job at the local authority housing team, working in customer service and managing the housing allocations process with people. From there I moved into social services and trained as a community occupational therapist assistant, which meant I did assessments and then fitted equipment in people’s homes that meant they were able to live well at home.

I have worked as a deputy manager of a hostel for homeless families too. The idea of “home” seems to be quite central to my career; I spent the next 8 years as Care Manager of various Home Instead Senior Care companies in Merseyside. I have now worked for Shared Lives Plus for 18 months, the first 12 months I worked in Support and Quality, supporting Shared Lives schemes with guidance and queries. In 2014 I also spent a year out in Australia! I prepared to spend a year travelling from place to place, but I actually found a place I felt I could call home and settled there for 9 of the 12 months- once again reinforcing to me how important it is to have a place you can call home. “

Jenni, everyone at Shared Lives Plus admires your enthusiasm and you clearly enjoy your role, what is it you love about your work with the NHS?

“I love that I am able to work towards raising the profile of Shared Lives within health, where for many people Shared Lives is an entirely new concept. I find that working with the staff and carers at Shared Lives schemes is inspirational and I enjoy working with them to develop and grow their schemes, to enable more people to have the choice of living in a home with family around them.

Each time people hear of the ways in which a person has blossomed when being supported within a Shared Lives arrangement, it raises the expectations of what people can achieve and how people with long-term health conditions can live well in their community- no one should be limited to where or how they live, just because of a lack of options in their area forces them into inappropriate residential or institutional accommodation.”

You can read one of the amazing Shared Lives arrangements Jenni is referring to in the here


Published in NHS Project Blog

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest “Scaling up Shared Lives in Healthcare” blog. This week we’re celebrating the work that our Shared Lives carers do in helping people with learning disabilities have the highest quality of life possible. As you may know Shared Lives Plus has recently received a £1.75 million pound grant from NHS England. This is to help CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) and NHS Trusts in England to offer Shared Lives locally as an alternative approach to traditional healthcare for people.

Since our last update, Fiona Clark, (the NHS Programme Director) and Jenni Kirkham, (NHS Programme Officer) have set off on their travels around the country to visit the CCG’s and Shared Lives schemes who are interested in developing Shared Lives services within their communities . They are covering the length and breadth of the country to support the CCGs and schemes to complete the work needed to be eligible for the match funding available from NHS England to develop the scheme.

With care transforming as society and the NHS adjust to circumstances, we believe it is important that people have a choice to live a life that they are happy with, and one which is suitable for every person’s individual needs and aspirations.

James Picture 1

We decided that the best way to show everyone how Shared Lives can have a positive and meaningful impact on a person living with a learning disability, was to let James, who has lived experience, tell you himself.

James says; “I don’t feel like I have a learning disability, but I know that I’ve got one, because of all the support I get now in Shared Lives. Before I came to Shared Lives I was not allowed to do things I could do and always needed staff with me- often doing things I could do myself. “

James has epilepsy and a learning disability. He was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 6 years old and then until the age of 40 was in specialist care. Firstly at St Elizabeth’s in Hertfordshire, very near his family home and then residential care at the National Centre for Epilepsy in Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.

James feels he did not learn new things before he joined Shared Lives but now he has more freedom to do the things he wants to do.

The Shared Lives model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own. This is achieved by matching them with a Shared Lives carer to share their family and lives, receiving care and support in the community. People using Shared Lives may have learning disabilities, dementia, mental health problems or other needs which require long or short term support. It will offer them the opportunity to either live with their matched and approved Shared Lives carer, or visit them regularly for day support or overnight breaks.

James’ Shared Lives carer has had a remarkable impact on his life, helping James become more confident and independent. He now feels confident to go to town and shop, have lunch in his favourite place.

James:   “My life is friendlier, Andy, and others, have helped me make more friends. Andy has helped me to do more things that I can do myself now – cooking, the washing, ironing, walking out with Bronte the dog- normal stuff that everyone does.”laces and meet new friends

James picture 2

When Andy asked James, a few years ago, what he wanted his life to be like, the reply was ‘more friends and a job that I can get paid for’. Since then this is what James and Andy have been working towards.

Andy said: “Now, building up James’ community connections’ and using his skills to feel valued and have purpose are key to a good and happy life. The frequency of epileptic seizures has significantly decreased to the extent that he has not had a seizure for over 18 months. James says he is ‘not bored now’ and that there is’ always something to look forward to and do’. James can get up in the morning, something he just couldn’t do before and his thinking and decision making is vastly improved. However, this has not always been the case.”

A few years ago James epileptic seizures meant that he has spent time in hospitals. Between having seizures and taking his medication, James was prevented from doing much in the past and feels he was almost forgotten.

In December 2012 epileptic seizures clustered and in the next two months James had 12 hospital admissions for varying lengths of time.  All local hospitals and one in North London tried totreat James.  Each time more medication was prescribed that had significant impact on James without decreasing the seizures.  James was put in an induced coma and spent 3 weeks in Critical Care.

James and ANDY 1

He was prevented from doing much in the past and feels he was almost forgotten. We decided to ask him, if he thought that people in hospital waiting for a place to provide them with care, could benefit from Shared Lives?

Being a part of a Shared Lives arrangement provides people with a family environment, independence and allows people to live the life they want. James, with the help of Andy’s support has become a part of the community, volunteering at the local Country Market every week which he loves. He has also has just started a self- funded training post in a local shop that could lead to a job in a large supermarket.James said: “Yes, they could.” He says that when he came out of hospital, after many visits because of epilepsy, he was supported by people he knew and who knew him really well. He was in a place he felt safe and comfortable and this helped him get better. He believes other people would feel the same.

James and Andy picture 2James’ life has completely changed for the better. He gives a training session to new carers about epilepsy once a month, has helped lead a workshop on Community Connecting at the Shared Lives Plus conference and is part of a team that supports health checks for Shared Lives schemes.

He presents his story, ‘Two Men and a Dog’ about how Shared Lives has changed his life, to various audiences. James is also a Co- Director, with Andy and one other, of a registered Community Interest Company, called ‘Local Social’ that aims to support socially isolated people connect with their community. Andy works with James on all these activities that use James’ knowledge and skills to develop a confident and fulfilling life.

Published in NHS Project Blog
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 09:22

Case Studies - Chris

Chris lived in residential care before moving to Shared Lives Plus, he currently lives with his carer Alison with the Birmingham Shared Lives Scheme.  Whilst living in other residential care, Chris felt he had some independence but other client’s priorities came first. After some meetings with a social worker and an advocate, he discussed the good and bad points of residential accommodation against Shared Lives. After initially worrying about the home environment of living with a couple and the possibility of feeling left out, in his eyes Shared Lives won him over because of the independence it would allow Chris to have in comparison to what he had in residential care.

After visiting a Shared Lives carer twice, the carer decided he was not ready for a permanent placement. Chris was then introduced to and visited Alison, staying with her overnight to see if they were compatible, then a final meeting was set up before he moved in with her. Chris enjoyed walking the dog, he sorted out his bedroom, medication, a bus pass and medical treatments, whilst getting to know Alison’s family and friends. Since joining Shared Lives Chris has taken up Zumba, goes out more regularly, goes on trips, bakes and volunteers.

Chris says, “I am more independent. I go to more places than before, like we just went to Brighton – I couldn’t do that before, there would be a lot more people involved and a lot of planning. Our trip to Rome would have taken much longer to plan, for example, how many staff and clients were going. In residential I couldn’t go out to a club without having to do a risk assessment and care plan. Since I moved in I think we have been on 9 trips. I also stay with Sylvia and Carol for respite, they are Shared Lives carers too.”

“I would say it is more of a family. I do get on with everybody… I would say it is more of a closeness.”

Published in News
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HOLIDAY STORIES – Share your holiday experiences here!


August 2015

Geoffrey visits Suffolk!

In August 2015 Geoffrey from the Ealing Shared Lives scheme went on Holiday to Suffolk to stay with Sally and Brian. The fortnight was packed full of activities.
Geoffrey’s visit took in Thorpness, ships at Felixstowe, Ipswich Museum, and Framlington Castle. Ice Creams were shared, walks taken and there was even a trip to see the BBC Concert Orchestra!

Geoffrey experienced the camper van lifestyle – along with the family dogs, ate fish and chips and drank tea in the open air, and overall a fantastic time was had by all.
Catherine from Ealing Shared Lives scheme tell us that “Geoffrey had a lovely time with Sally and Brian. His carer said he keeps talking about his stay in Suffolk”

You can read the full story and look at the holiday snaps in this document here. Geoffreys_holiday.pdf


June 2015 

Joe Waring is a holiday carer in Norfolk, who with his family support up to nine different individuals each year, mostly from the London borough of Wandsworth. Most people come several times a year and sometimes with a friend.
Joe wrote about two people who come for holidays.

June, who is 52 years old, comes to stay 6 or 7 times a year, having first come about 6 years ago. She sometimes comes on her own, and sometimes with a friend. She is very close to her mother and brother, and I think she likes being part of another family: myself, my wife and our 18 year old daughter. June’s mother is also reassured that the care for June focuses on her individual needs. June is very sociable and has a great sense of humour. She loves meeting our friends either at our house or theirs, and having a laugh, sharing stories and food and, I’m afraid, sharing a glass of wine, too! We go out every day to somewhere of interest in Norfolk, either in Norwich, where we live, in the nearby Norfolk Broads countryside, or to the coast. June particularly likes seeing the horse she recently “adopted” in a local horse sanctuary, and going to the amusements at Great Yarmouth. June always brings enough money to buy presents from Norfolk for her family and friends back in London.

Jack has also been coming to us for about 6 years. He always brings a pool cue and enjoys going to the local ten-pin bowling alley to bowl and play pool. He has been beating me at both for all of those 6 years, and I’m getting a bit tired waiting for his luck to run out! Jack especially likes our dog, Daisy, and volunteers to join us walking her every day. Like June, who he sometimes comes with, Jack is very sociable and always wants to meet our friends and family. He will sometimes help prepare a meal for a dinner party, and likes to dress up for the occasion in his best clothes. Jack likes going to museums- there are some great ones in Norfolk- and has recently gone a couple of times to the local cathedral to light a candle in memory of his father. Before he first did this, Jack had never gone into a church since his father’s funeral 10 years previously. Although Jack usually stays with a friend, he always comes on his own a few weeks before Christmas, when he buys presents for all his family, and wraps and tags them all carefully before taking them home.

Thanks Joe for sharing the stories and offering wonderful holiday experiences