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Date published: March 19, 2024

“Life is for living and not to be wasted” – Toni’s Shared Lives activity book

In this post Toni, who is supported by Shared Lives Sheffield, opens-up her activity book and gives us an insight into how Shared Lives day support works for her.

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It started around 5 or 6 years ago. I attended a Shared Lives open day at the Fire Station on Eyre Street. I finished my work at the Moorfoot so I was able to attend the event.

When I arrived there were a few people of all ages and all different disabilities with their carers. So I settled down and started to partake in the activities that were on offer. (I had been with Shared Lives three years up until that point having occasional respite but it had not suited my lifestyle.)

Refreshments were included. As the day wore on everyone started leaving except a very nice young lady sat on her own and nobody talked to her. So I went to talk to this lady and told her my name is Toni. Her name is Tracey. She has a husband called Steve, 3 boys and a dog called Hattie. She lives 5 minutes walk from my house so it is very near to walk.

We talked and got on very well. I thought nothing more about the meeting so I left the event at 3pm. The next few days Trisha the manager of Shared Lives had a word with Tracey and suggested we begin with 3 hours daycare a week from 3-6pm. Tracey did not hesitate and jumped at the chance!

I was glad but apprehensive at first. But as the time and years went by this friendship worked. I even won a voucher to have a coffee at a cafe which was in the envelope. It was an amazing start to our friendship.

We all played Bingo and everyone won prizes but the best prize was the one I had won, which nobody thought of taking.

Read on to see what activites Toni and Tracey have done over the last 5 years.


We have done quite a few recipes from my Diabetic Cookbook. Simple meals to suit my diabetes. I have been an insulin-dependant Type 1 diabetic for the past 40 years.

We have cooked fish pies, cauliflower mornay, ginger tea loaf and healthy meals suitable for my diabetes.

We cook at each other’s houses. This has given me the confidence to cook my breakfast and tea.

Dawn my sister, who lives with me makes brilliant dinners with a shopping budget and it works well.


I have never ever done a jigsaw at all.  I received a jigsaw of a postman delivering a parcel to an elderly lady. It is an old fashioned post van surrounded by trees, river barges, cottages and trains.

Since then I have a variety of completed jigsaws which I make into pictures. I have over 14 jigsaws so far. Landscapes, Care Bears, a jigsaw of Hattie dog (which was given to me at Christmas), a map of England, and flags of the world.

My niece gave me a series of 3 jigsaws taken of a wood cabin in 3 seasons Spring, Autumn and Winter. The remaining Summer one came from Tracey so now I have 4 completed pictures.

I also have a dream cottage, rabbits in Spring, a picture of dogs and cats having a picnic, a Christmas jigsaw of a manger where Christ was born, a picture of teddy bears and one with the Kings and Queens of England which I completed on holiday at Revitalise at Sandpipers in Southport. It was a real pleasure doing them.


The first painting I received was a panda picture. It  took 2-3 days to complete and it works well.

I have also done painting by numbers of dogs, animals and tigers and I have used cardboard to frame them.

Puzzles, Colouring books and Wordsearches

These range from landscapes, animals, seaside scenes, birds, seasons, butterflies and cats.


Me and Tracey like playing Scrabble. I used to play with Mrs Charles when I was young.

Snakes and ladders, Ludo, Guess Who, Prayer Game, The Goose Game. We both play very good and fairly.


I have made different things:

A heart for Tracey and family which I made at Sandpipers. I also made one for Jayne from Shared Lives. It is a heart filled with stuffing with Jayne’s name on it.

I have also made cards for friends and family. And a special wedding card for Owen and Ellie’s wedding day which I attended and was very, very enjoyable.

A carousel with small ornaments of teddies on the swings.

Birthday bunting for Tracey’s birthday.

A lot of these crafts were given to me for free. Instead of throwing them away I benefit friends and family by recycling them as I don’t like waste.


I used to volunteer for the British Heart Foundation, but because of my health condition I am currently only volunteering at the Mind shop, where I do a few hours a week.

Social Outings

When the weather is suitable we have a coffee at Hidden Gem in Bent’s Green or at the Moorfoot in town. We share the cost between us. We go to charity shops to look for good quality clothes. As I used to volunteer at the British Heart Foundation on Ecclesall Road and the Mind shop on London Road I could get 25% off the price.

We have also gone to animal farms such as the Mayfield Valley Alpaca Farm, Graves Park and Heeley City Farm.

Sometimes we go to the cinema to watch movies that interest me. I have a CEA card which allows Tracey as my carer to go in for free. So far we have seen Little Women, Emma,  Downtown Abbey, Dumbo, The Lion King and a movie about dogs, to name but a few.

We also go to the Salvation Army Cafe and the local Sharrow Foodworks which supports our local community.

I am a member of Highfield Church and enjoy organising the hymns which Tracey has helped me with.

Health Support

The support I received when ill in hospital with diabetes and other issues has been amazing. Tracey and family visited me and cheered me up with endless colouring books to keep my mind active. Tracey has also supported me when having cataract surgery.

These past 5 years the support from Tracey and family has been extremely phenomenal. Tracey and family have welcomed me into their home and have supported me all this time.

Life is for living and not to be wasted.