Sophie, 17 is typical of many people who need some support to move on in life. Some young people who live with or visit Shared Lives carers come from care, others from residential colleges and others from family homes. They all have the same goal to grow into independent adults. Sophie lives with Jenny and Mike, Shared Lives carers in Wales.
Sophie says, “Jenny and Mike have helped me learn so much. It’s a calm place and I just feel much calmer myself. I think I used to get frustrated. I don’t feel like that now. I can talk to Jenny any time.
I didn’t even make my bed before. Now I do all kinds of things. The washing, housework – we divide that among ourselves. Jenny’s helping me think about budgeting for the future too. It’s all the things I need to know for a place of my own.
I’ve also realised some of my ambitions. I’ve been to college and got some qualifications and that helped me get work experience in a Cardiff children’s nursery. I loved working there. I travelled on the bus every day from Barry to Cardiff. I helped take care of the children, feed them, play with them. It was just fun. Now I’ve got my certificates for maths and English and I’m planning to go back to college. I know my family were so proud when I got my certificates.
My life’s busy. I’m off to see the band Steps with my mum in a few days. I’ve got a good relationship with my brother, and my Nan. I see my dad regularly and I’ve got my friends. Jenny says when I first came I was always rushing to do everything at
once. Now this is just home and I’m getting on with it. And, when I need her, Jenny’s there.”
Shared Lives schemes continue to support young people across Wales to become independent. Currently regulations limit the service to working with 18 plus, but Shared Lives Plus is working with Welsh Government to lower the age of transition to 16 plus. In England, Shared Lives carer can support young people through transition from 16 – 18 years old, and offer a stable, safe home from which to start out in life and offer more young people, like Sophie, a brighter future. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 227 3499.