Hannah Cain

Hannah Cain

Monday, 03 July 2017 14:19

Maggie's story

Maggie who uses Shared Lives services recently asked her Shared Lives carer to write in to us and share her story. We hope you enjoy reading Maggie's story and looking at her pictures. This story is a great example of the positive impact Shared Lives can have on people's lives who have support needs and are looking to become a part of and living in a family enviroment instead of traditional forms of care.

“Hello, my name is Maggie and I have been living in Shared Lives for two years. I have really enjoyed my time being in a family and have made lots of new friends. I have also loved learning new skills, and trying out new things. This is the first time I have rode a horse and it was absolutely brilliant. I now go to eazyfit and the Odell centre, I also go to discos to see my friends. What I do love about Droitwich, is the band in the park in the summer. I have learnt how to cook with the help of my Shared Lives carers, Jackie and Kevin, and I enjoy preparing meals.  Another bonus to living in Shared Lives is that I have been enjoying trips out and holidays. I have been to Lanzarote and this year we went to Portugal. Other places I have visited have been Blackpool, Coronation Street, BGT, Ironbridge, SS Great Britain to name a few. It is brilliant to live as part of a family and share our lives.”

 

Maggie 5 

 

Nottinghamshire residents of a caring nature are being encouraged to consider becoming Shared Lives carers to offer long-term support or short breaks to vulnerable adults. 
 
The County Council currently has 58 Shared Lives carer households, which offer long-term accommodation and support or short breaks for older people, people with a physical or learning disability, or individuals with mental health needs. 
 
A further 20 households across the county who have availability in their home and are willing to offer support are needed, so more people can benefit from the scheme. 
 
All carers receive training and ongoing support and are paid according to the needs of the person or people who they care for. 
 
Terri-Ann Davies, 27, spends 28 days a year spread out as short breaks with Jean Bere who lives on a farm in Everton, Bassetlaw. 
 
Terri-Ann, who lives in Mansfield with her parents, is partially deaf and has a learning disability and Jean has been a Shared Lives carer for three years. 
 
Father Gary explains “Shared Lives is a godsend. Terri-Ann stays over at a proper working farm so experiences different things to when she is at home with us and loves all of the animals there. 
 
It’s an unwinding, relaxing break for her and gives us time to do things we aren’t able to do when Terri-Ann is around. We are going away to play French boules in Jersey during our next break.” 
 
Terri-Ann said: “I have been to many different places with Shared Lives but meeting Jean and her family is the best I’ve done. We do things like feed the animals and collect the eggs from the chickens in the woods and when I stay for a longer period of time, we do other things. The only downside of the farm is getting up so early because I like my bed!
 
When I’m away from home I know Mum and Dad get worried but it is reassuring for them to know I’m safe and happy.” 
 
Jean said: “We moved to the farm four years ago and being closer to nature is very therapeutic so I wanted to share this with other people. 
 
I have an agricultural degree and have previously worked with people with autism in a care home, so Shared Lives seemed the perfect challenge for me and the farm. 
 
I get just as much out of it as Terri-Ann, as it is so rewarding to see her grow in confidence and she has a great sense of humour and a lively character. She helps out on the farm, but we also do other fun activities like swimming and baking cakes. 
 
As Terri-Ann is in a different environment I think she is more willing to try new things, develop her skills and she is a real joy to be around."
 
I have enjoyed looking after two other young people as part of the scheme and I’m looking forward to having another person to stay at the farm in the coming months.” 
 
Helen Hall, Senior Shared Lives Coordinator at the Council, said: “Jean does a fantastic job supporting Terri-Ann but you don’t have to have a farm to be a Shared Lives carer. 
 
You just need room in your home and sometime to support a person with a disability or an older person and the arrangements can range from a couple of weekends a year to offering a longer-term home.” 
 
Nottinghamshire 1
 
Anyone who is interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer can visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sharedlives, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0300 500 80 80. 

Emma and Tommy O’Connor receive MBE for 50 years of caring.

“It was a shock, you do what you do for the love of it. The Doctor’s at our local Silkworth health centre put us forward for the MBE. The Doctor’s held a big party for me and Tommy, it was a lovely surprise. All our family were there- and the children we had brought up over the years in fostering. We gave the Doctor’s a photograph of us with the queen, it’s up in the health centre, Tommy and I getting our MBE’s.”
 
Emma and Tommy O’Connor, from Silkworth in Sunderland, who have been married for 57 years have been recently honoured with a MBE for over 50 years of caring.
 
The couple who became Foster carers in 1968, eight years after getting married, were among the list of nominees being honoured by the Queen. Emma and Tommy have been honoured for over 50 years of care, as Foster Carers and their current role as Shared Lives carers.
 
Emma and Tommy have looked after two ladies from when they were three and five months old. They became Shared Lives carers so they could continue to support Silvia and Margret into adult life.
 
Emma said: “It was lovely, the queen presented it, and she spoke to me for ages, she was so down to earth. The Queen asked us how long you think you’ll be caring for? Tommy said how long is a piece of string? The Queen burst out laughing.”
 
Unfortunately, one of the ladies they supported passed away, Silvia died at 36, she had severe difficulties, Emma and Tommy had fostered her from three months old. They became Shared Lives carers when Shared Lives first started so they could keep Silvia in the family.
 
We wanted to know why Emma chose Shared Lives, she said: “Because I had the ladies that long, and they didn’t want to move on. They’re part of the family, you can’t tell them to move on, and you help them, that’s what you do. It is very difficult to get people with special needs placed, we knew them and we wanted them to be safe.”
 
After becoming Shared Lives carers to support Silvia into adulthood, Emma and Tommy naturally became Shared Lives carers for Margret.
 
Emma said: “Margret bakes, makes cup of teas, she loves water and bubbles so you have to watch her, but she has come on loads, we’re really proud of her. We treat them like our own, they are our own- and we really love them like our own. Margret is doing work experience at a garden centre at the moment, we take her.  She left her IPad at the centre recently, Tommy offered to take her over the next day to get it. Margret ended up getting two buses by herself that day, there and back, I was over the moon and so proud- but I told her that Tommy would have taken her.”
 
We asked Emma and Tommy what is the secret to caring and supporting people for over 50 years, from childhood into their adult life.
 
Emma said: “It makes a big difference if you’re helping them all you can, and steering them in the right direction, we teach them as much as we can- and to be independent. You have to treat the people you support like your own, part of the family. I miss Silvia so much, the day centre she used to go to made us a lovely teddy bear and cushion from clothes she had left there before she passed away,  and  a polar neck she wore, it said ‘ A hug when you need it’, they thought the world of her.”
 
Shared Lives Plus would like to thank Emma and Tommy for sharing their story with us and congratulate them on their amazing recognition for their services to care for the last 50 years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are delighted to share Leanne's story today with everyone. Leanne who uses Shared Lives services recently contacted us as she loves to tell stories. This is her inspiring Shared Lives story, we are all very proud of Leanne's achievements with Shared Lives and we would like to thank her for sharing her Shared Lives journey with us.
 
Leanne writes:
 
When I was asked to do this for Shared lives week it took me a while to write, not because I didn’t want to write it, mostly because I didn’t know what to say. What do you say about the service, the shared lives carers who helped you to grow into the person you could only dream about four and a half years previous?
Anyone that knows me, will know that one of my favourite hobbies is to write stories and tell stories to anyone who will listen, so if you don’t mind, I would like to tell you one now…
 
It all began many years ago when I was 10 years old, I had this dream of becoming a social worker and despite my disabilities I worked as hard as I could (and sometimes not at all) throughout school and college in the hope of one day achieving my dream. –How is this all relevant you ask? Let me tell you…
 
 In the January of 2012, I was diagnosed with a rare medical condition on top of my already complicated disabilities. The condition took over my life and put a stop to my dream. Not only did I now have a medical condition, which I couldn’t control, I had increasing mental health issues. I don’t mind sharing, suicidal thoughts were becoming like an old friend of mine. My condition and my mental health state was putting enormous pressure on the relationships I had with my family. In the January of 2013, I found out just how much. I was admitted to hospital for what was supposed to be routine treatment, a few days later I was visited by a social worker who explained to me that due to a breakdown in the relationships between myself and my family, I was now homeless.
It took a lot of discussion between the social worker and I but I brought up the option of Shared Lives as I had heard about the support it offered to adults with additional needs.  Me being who I am, I was a little reluctant to become a part of the scheme as “I don’t need help” how wrong I was. In hindsight, I can truly say I didn’t realise how much help I needed until I’d had it.
 
On the 23rd of January 2013 I met Josephine, I can remember like it was yesterday, I was sat in my hospital bed trying to concentrate on what was being asked but all I could think was how this woman with the kindest smile and it seemed even kinder heart had made me feel the most human id felt in a long time. I was so distracted by this, I agreed to not liking cucumber… 4 years later and both Josephine and Paul, Josephine’s husband,  still believe I don’t like cucumber, when really I do. 
 
Anyway on the 24th,  I moved into the place I was only supposed to be staying “a few weeks.” A couple of months past and I’d found myself fitting in with Josephine and Paul’s lifestyle, even joining Blackpool Bears with the help of Josephine, but this wasn’t my greatest achievement. My greatest achievement in that first few months was the smallest of all things… getting on a bus. By myself. It sounds ridiculous, a what was 20 year old that had never been on a bus on her own before, but it was true. My mental health state was the biggest issue, my anxiety stopped me from doing almost everything, making me fear I was going to get something wrong, get lost or worst die. So that day when Josephine told me she was going to drop me off at my appointment and I would have to make my way back by bus myself I feared everything. Literally dreading the end of my appointment even though she had told me the exact route to use. To cut a long story short, I did it. I got on the bus and I got off at the right stop. Although it was a very small thing, I felt like I had achieved a lot. Yes the whole plan seems a little unorthodox to some people but Josephine knew that was the kind of approach that I needed and what a fantastic approach that was. I now spend half of my time on and off buses, and the other half it seems waiting for them….
 
Anyway that wasn’t the only breakthrough I’d had in the few moths after id moved in, Paul had even talked me into going to see a Counselor and I found myself being able to open up to not only the counselor but Josephine and Paul too. If there is one thing I can always count on is for at least one of them to show an interest in what I have to say. I say at least one because lets be fair to them I talk a lot now but I never really wanted to. That’s the point I’m getting at. When you have a mental health issue like I had, sometimes all you really need is someone to take notice, to listen and overall offer the help you didn’t think you wanted. I found that in them both.  They have offered me so much, in the way of offering me the space to express who I am, yes they might not agree with my loud music or my constant concert going, flying off to different countries, including America with nothing but my best friend for support,  but without the support from them in the first instance, like throwing me into the deep end and onto a bus I wouldn’t do these things.
 
In the beginning of this story I began by telling you about the dream I had of becoming a social worker and how it had all come to an end. Turns out that wasn’t the end. Thanks to    Josephine and Paul’s constant support with my physical conditions and my mental health  I was confident enough and motivated enough to return to education.  I started my social work degree in the September of 2013 only nine months after moving in with these two. Its been 4 years now and I’m just coming to the end of my degree, hoping to graduate in December with a first class honours degree in the one profession I’d dreamed of since being a child. I always get a little over emotional when I speak about this because over four years ago I would have never have dreamt I would be in this position and that is without a doubt down to the support and love I have received from being a part of shared lives. Josephine and Paul have given me back my self-confidence and self worth and a lot more besides. Without them I can truly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today. There is a quote from Harry potter, that I love that says “happiness can be found in the most darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light” -Albus Dumbledore. I love this because it reminds me of what they have done for me. They helped me turn on the light in my darkest times, with my depression and illness, when no one else could and through that, I was able to grow as a person and find happiness. True happiness.
 
I’ve learnt a lot whilst being here, like how to cook, how not to bake, how to clean and how not to… mostly how to avoid it, but most of all I’ve learnt so much about myself and for that I probably owe them everything.
 
I’ll be moving on soon, to a house of my own, and despite how far I may end up, because thanks to them, who knows, I’ll never forget what they have done for me.
This was a story about how a young girl, found the light with the help of two wonderful people and became a woman.
 
 

For Shared Lives week 2017, Lesley Dixon, CEO of Person Shared Support (PSS) writes a guest blog for Shared Lives and tells us why she believes Shared Lives should be a choice for all people with support needs.

PSS is a business with a heart that helps people change their lives for the better. We provide a range of health and social care services that help people from all different backgrounds get the most from their lives, and since we were founded in 1919, we’ve never stood still. We’re always looking for new ways to help – which, in 1978, led us to set up the UK’s first Shared Lives scheme.

 
As you may or may not know Shared Lives is a form of support where vulnerable adults and young people over 16 live at home with a specially recruited and trained Shared Lives carer and their family.
At the moment, 362 people in the UK use our Shared Lives scheme across our long-term, short breaks and day support schemes, and we currently have over 400 carers.
 
Shared Lives is a great option for everyone in need of some day-to-day support – whatever their needs may be.  With over 400 carers, we can match people’s needs to the Shared Lives carers that can best support them, giving our service-users as much choice as possible.
 
At the moment, 60% of the people who use our Shared Lives scheme have some form of learning disability.
7% of people using the scheme have mental health challenges.
 
10% are older people, who may be frail or need some extra day-to-day
8% suffer from dementia
5% have complex and risky behaviours.
 
When we met Josh, he had been using drugs and alcohol as a way of bonding with his dad, who also had a drug and alcohol addiction. Josh was recovering from a mental health breakdown, which resulted in him being sectioned. He came to live with one of our Shared Lives carers in Liverpool to help him recover from everything he’d been through. After about a year, Josh was feeling well enough to return home – and is now living with his mum. Last we heard, he had started attending college, which is great news and shows the powerful impact a Shared Lives placement can have on someone like Josh.
We’re also seeing more and more care-leavers and vulnerable young people using the scheme.
 
In terms of referrals into the service from social workers, GPs, etc  – we’ve had quite a mixed experience. Some really see the potential benefits Shared Lives could have – others know less about it. As a result, we often have Shared Lives carers with vacancies just waiting to be filled – and that’s a real shame.
 
To fix this problem, we think social workers, GPs and others who can make referrals into the service need to have a better understanding of what Shared Lives is and what it can bring to the lives of the people who use it. We need to help them understand that, although the process of matching a service-user to a Shared Lives carer can take a bit of time in the long-run, the outcomes are well worth it in the end – and can take pressure off them in the long-run.
 
Not only does the scheme have some great outcomes, it’s also really cost effective. In our latest social impact report, which is available on the PSS website, we found that Shared Lives is 51% cheaper than residential care and 35% cheaper than supported living.
 
The model’s also really adaptable. We’re currently in the middle of piloting a scheme called Home from Hospital, which is designed to help vulnerable adults leaving hospital make the transition from hospital life to independent, or supported, home life, by placing them in a Shared Lives arrangement for up to six weeks.  For every week an older person spends in hospital, their recovery can be delayed by up to six months – and the likelihood of them being readmitted within a year increases.  We’re hoping that the Home from Hospital scheme will help people get out of hospital sooner and more safely – saving the NHS money and getting people back on their feet more quickly… but we’re depending on NHS and social care workers to work together with us to make this a success.
 
We’re incredibly proud of the impact our Shared Lives schemes have had on people up and down the UK and we truly believe in terms of diversity and scale the only way is up.
 
I firmly believe that Shared Lives is a real choice for all.
 
LESLEY DIXON
 
 
Monday, 19 June 2017 12:55

Shared Lives- A Choice For All

#SharedLivesChoiceForAll

Shared Lives week 2017 celebrates the diversity of people using our care model, from people with learning disabilities, people with mental ill health and long term illnesses- Shared Lives is supporting people in the UK, to live a better life in a family home. 

This year’s Shared Lives week will be about spreading awareness of our care model, demonstrating that Shared Lives should be offered as a choice for all people with support needs that could benefit from using Shared Lives services.

Shared Lives carers often support people with a variety and number of support needs, the positive impact this has on people’s wellbeing is life-changing. Therefore, this year we are urging MP’s, organisations and people in social care to spread awareness, so that Shared Lives is offered to all people that could benefit from it. Whilst it may not be the right fit for every single person, we believe it should certainly be a choice for all.

Shared Lives Ambassador, Michael said: “Shared Lives carers have helped me out with emotional support, gave me someone to talk too, be healthier and I’ve been supported well, and everything I’ve learned with Shared Lives will help me in the future.”

At a time when social care is in crisis and underfunded, Shared Lives can offer an alternative for people to live in a family home, with plenty of support and increase people’s independence- all whilst saving local authorities money that is needed with budgets being cut.

We’re asking all our Shared Lives carers, Shared Lives Plus members, schemes and people who use Shared Lives services, to spread the word far and wide. So many people can benefit from Shared Lives, it’s time they learnt that there is another option out there, in a family home with support- to help people get involved in their local community and work towards their own goals.

That’s why this year’s theme is #SharedLivesChoiceForAll - we would love everyone to get involved on social media. Share your stories, tell people in your community about Shared Lives and spread the word that Shared Lives should be a choice for all people who need support, and could benefit from living in a family environment.

Throughout this Shared Lives week we are sharing stories from Shared Lives carers, people who use our services and spreading awareness throughout the country, please join us and get involved in your local areas.

Shared Lives barbeque

Our latest guest blog is from another one of our Ambassadors, Michael. In the past Michael was a part of a Shared Lives arrangement, he now lives independently. Michael’s blog is about his journey to living independently with help and support from Shared Lives along the way.

“In September 2011 I moved from fostering to Shared Lives, I lived with a Shared Lives carer 24/7 until 17th May 2012.

It was good because it helped me learn how to become independent. On the 17th May 2012, I moved from my Shared Lives arrangement into supported living, but I continued to use Shared Lives for day support

One Shared Lives carer that supported me was called Sharon. She supported me a few times a week to help me get out and about. We went to the Coronation street tour 3 times, Disney on Ice, shopping and the cinema. We had fun and many lovely times, Sharon even helped me with household tasks, like buying things for my home and supported me until October 2015. Shared Lives carer, Sharon was the best worker I've had since my mentor in 2007/08.  I still miss her but everything I’ve done and learned with Sharon will stay with me.

Coranation st Michael

I’ve had a few other Shared Lives carers in that time that didn’t always work out- but when I moved on 22 April 2015, I met Syvania. She supported me for 9 and a half hours and Sharon was also supporting me for 8 hours, Select Support Partnership were with me for 9 hours a week. I have many lovely memories with Syvania, she helped me to stop drinking fizzy pop and drink healthy fruit juice instead, and I only have fizzy pop when I’m having a mocktail or cocktail now.

My Shared Lives carers have been like a mum to me, they have patience to teach me new skills, they’ve helped to teach me to cook and clean up.

People who don’t know about Shared Lives could learn from Shared Lives carers,  they help to improve people’s life skills, go out on trips and holidays, and get you involved with community groups.

Shared Lives carers have helped me out with emotional support, given me someone to talk to, be healthier and I’ve been supported well. Everything I’ve learned with Shared Lives will help me in the future.

Shared Lives has helped me to be more organised, which means I worry less, everything is in order which means I’m less anxious now. I know how to do shopping lists, Shared Lives carers told me to check what I’ve got in before I go shopping, so I don’t buy the same stuff. I look out for offers and shop in the healthy isle. They’ve taught and showed me how to manage my money. “

Michael lives independently now and gets support from another agency but is still a part of the Shared Lives family as one of our Ambassadors.

We would like to thank Michael for writing this guest blog and sharing his story. If you are interested in telling your Shared Lives story, please email Communications Assistant, Hannah Cain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For further information about becoming a Shared Lives carer, a member or using Shared Lives services, phone the office on 01512273499.  

 

Disney Michael

 

 

 

 

 

Shared Lives Plus are pleased to announce that we have received funding and will be working with the Department of Education to further develop our support to young people leaving care.  The project will run in eight demonstrator sites across England offering Shared Lives to young people who would not normally have this option, and we are excited by the new challenge.

You can read the full press release, Innovative projects to get £36 million funding boost, here.

Alex Fox's blog for NLGN (New Local Government Network) talks about the results of blanket scepticism that look surprisingly similar to the results of blanket credulity. How Shared Lives and Homeshare make people inclined to trust people that they open their homes and lives too- who they have not known very long.

Alex Fox: "This seems a strange time to be suggesting that we all trust each other – whether we are Shared Lives carers or politicians – more. As 2017 picks up where 2016 left off, I am not completely confident that I will be able to practice what I preach on this, all of the time. But if you’re willing to try to approach me with something like sceptical trust, most of the time, I will do the same for you.

It is, I think, from small acts of trust that functioning communities, organisations and even nations are built."

You can read the full article on the NLGN website here.

This week’s guest blog is from our Ambassador, Nick Sayers.
 
Nick is an important part of the Shared Lives family, he works very hard as one of our Ambassadors, travelling round the country, appearing and giving speeches at events, explaining the difference Shared Lives has made to his life, to MP’s and people who can help develop Shared Lives.
 
All this alongside his five day working week- volunteering at different organisations, doing his own shopping and his daily life with his Shared Lives carers, Tina and Stephen.
 
Nick and Jonathon
 
I recently spoke to Nick at a team away day that he was speaking at- and as we went through his speech, I realised what a great writer he is.
 
As we’ve recently launched the Shared Lives Facebook as a way to connect Shared Lives carers, we’ve been asking people involved with Shared Lives to write guest blogs. To give them an online community to engage and support each other, share stories and keep up-to-date with what Shared Lives Plus is doing.
 
The Facebook page has had a really positive response, so it would be great to keep sharing stories of people who are a part of the Shared Lives family.
 
Our Shared Lives carers really enjoyed reading our last blog about Shared Lives carer, Andy Cooke and James, who he shares his life with.
 
You can read the blog post here.
 
I contacted Nick and asked him if he wanted to write a blog about something he enjoys since he joined Shared Lives.
 
Nick is autistic and this is the first blog post he has ever written and we think it’s brilliant!
 
“My name is Nick Sayers and I am one of the Shared Lives Ambassadors, and I want to share with you the Friday night club I go to. I go to the Gosport and District Sports Association, for Disabled (GADSAD) every Friday night. GADSAD provides social and sporting activities to people with disabilities, like myself, in the local area. It allows me the opportunity to socialise with others in the same situation as me and participate in a wide variety of sporting activities and games.
 
At the club I have the opportunity to play the games I love, such as darts, basketball, hoop throw, pin ball and many others. We have competitions as well with prizes for the winners. We are presented with our prizes at an awards evening once a year where we have a buffet. I have won the Hollis Trophy for the last 6 years, from 2011 to 2016, and hope to win it again this year.
 
There are also opportunities to help serve on the GADSA Stall at fetes to raise money for the club. We also have Fish and Chip nights where we can sit down and have a takeaway meal and chat.
 
I wrote this with help from my shared lives carer.”
 
Nick has lived with Shared Lives carers Tina and Stephen for 7 years, since he was 18 years old.
 
We’d like to thank Nick and his Shared Lives carer, Stephen- who supported him in writing this for us.
 
If anyone would like to write a guest blog as a Shared Lives carer, or would like to encourage and assist a person they support to tell their story, please contact Communications Assistant, Hannah Cain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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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

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