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.”