Nicola Watson joined Shared Lives Plus in July as Scotland development officer. Her focus for the next year will be to grow the number of people with a learning disability that are supported by Shared Lives schemes in Scotland.
Hello it’s lovely to be here as part of Shared Lives Plus!
I’m Nicola and I wanted to take the chance to share a bit about myself and why I am looking forward to helping Shared Lives grow and develop in Scotland.
Before joining Shared Lives Plus I worked as support worker for a Shared Lives Scheme in Scotland for 9 years. From the moment I heard about Shared Lives I knew this is how care should be and how we would all like to be supported- as part of a chosen family, with our strengths recognised and to live our lives as we would wish.
I learnt so much from and with those I worked with in Aberdeenshire – the workers, the Shared Lives carers and those we supported. I loved seeing the difference having a chosen Shared Lives carer can have to people’s lives. Whether it be feeling like a valued part of the community, having the confidence to make new friends and try new things, having someone to talk your worries through with or learning to cook for yourself and others as part of a family.
I believe that everyone has something to share and I know the people who are supported in Shared Lives give so much to their carers and their local community. People I have met through Shared Lives have inspired me to grow my own veg- so far I have pumpkin plants, strawberries and sweetcorn growing in the garden!
That is another thing I love about Shared Lives – it encourages people to give something different a go! I have loved learning how to steer a canoe, make pasta, learnt about the constellations in the night sky (and so many other things!) from being part of Shared Lives!
It was a difficult decision to move on from being a support worker as I had got to know the families so well. But having seen people flourish through Shared Lives I feel excited to hopefully help even more people experience the power of Shared Lives in Scotland.
P.S. Here I am at my favourite place- the beach!