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News from Shared Lives Plus

Thursday, 29 June 2017 13:14

A Choice For All - A Shared Lives week to remember

shared lives weekThis year’s Shared Lives week has been full of events, raising awareness and celebrating the work of the whole Shared Lives family. Shared Lives carers, schemes, people who use Shared Lives services and Shared Lives Plus staff have been spreading the word throughout the country that Shared Lives should be a choice for all.

Shared Lives carers, scheme officers and guests from all over Wales gathered at The Senedd in Wales on Monday 19th June, for a very special Shared Lives week celebration. Around 80 people, including Social Services Minister, Rebecca Evans, Assembly Members, guests from Health Boards, key people from local authority social service departments, academics and third sector colleagues attended to hear about Shared Lives in Wales. The Minister met two people currently being supported by South East Wales new Health Initiative, as well as many others being supported by Shared Lives. She gave an inspiring endorsement of Shared Lives work in Wales. There was also another promotional event in Wales on the Thursday of Shared Lives Week organised by Shared Lives carers of the Powys Shared Lives group.

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shared lives week

Shared Lives Plus also hosted our first parliamentary reception in Scotland for this year’s Shared Lives week. The reception was well attended by scheme representatives, Shared Lives carers and commissioners. The event even inspired one guest to apply to become a Shared Lives carer.

Shared Lives week in Scotland began with an activity weekend at Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore, organised by Aberdeenshire Shared Lives scheme. The event was open to anyone in Scotland, everyone was made to feel very welcome and encouraged to participate in activities like archery, climbing, drumming, drama, music and dancing which made it an event to remember, whilst in Northern Ireland, Positive Futures hosted an event on the Tuesday of Shared Lives Week to further raise awareness.

Possibilities Shared Lives in Rochdale enjoyed a celebrations morning for Shared Lives week. Firstly, they increased their energy levels with a nice bacon sandwich and cup of tea and then played a game of choices, Mr and Mrs style and then celebrated the choices that people living in a shared lives arrangement are supported to make.

The choices game consisted of each individual and their Shared Lives carer being given two pictures with different choices on. For example, a picture of a cup of tea and a picture of a pint of beer, in unison whilst both the individual and their Shared Lives carer sat back-to-back. They then raised up their pictures- the aim was to see if the service user’s choice could be guessed by the Shared Lives carer. This was a really fun activity for everyone involved and produced many laughs and discussions.

shared lives sharing noticeboard

For the second activity of the morning they asked all individuals to bring a picture with them of something they had been given the choice over. Each person took aslp 5 turn to come to the front of the room and talk to others about what their choice had been and what it meant to them. This activity produced some truly inspirational stories. The morning was enjoyed by all who attended and everyone went out with a smile on their faces, it was a great opportunity to meet up, have fun and share the successes of shared lives for everyone involved.

As part of Shared Lives Week, Oldham Shared Lives scheme hosted a fun and awareness social event on Thursday 22nd June- to raise awareness of the scheme and the services they offer.

The event was held at St Anne’s Rugby Club and amongst the many activities were games, a tombola and a raffle. They also welcomed guest speakers including Lyn Griffiths from Shared Lives Plus, Shared Lives Ambassador Michael Turner and their very own local councillor, Jenny Harrison. The event was a huge success and everyone was entertained by Miriam Goulding, who is one of their long term Shared Lives carers, who also took to the stage and sang to the packed room.

In addition to the fun/information day the scheme also had stands throughout the week in local libraries, hospitals and a gallery to share information and spread the Shared Lives word. They also had a slot on their local radio station, Oldham community radio and so far they have had some very positive feedback and lots of interest from potential new Shared Lives carers who are interested in joining the Oldham Shared Lives scheme.

Bradford Shared Lives scheme also had a great time at their annual BBQ and bowling event for Shared Lives week, attended by people who use Shared Lives services, Shared Lives carers and providers, families and staff.

After a dull start to the day, the sun appeared and stayed out until late evening and they enjoyed lots of tasty BBQ food. After people had eaten there was an opportunity to enjoy a round or two of crown green bowling or relax in the club house chatting and catching up over a drink with friends and families.

shared lives plus week

 Barbeques seemed to be a popular choice for schemes this year to celebrate Shared Lives week. Sandwell’s Shared Lives scheme had a wonderful afternoon celebrating with Shared Lives carers, people who use Shared Lives services and their family members. Fortunately the rain held off for their Summer BBQ held at Portway Lifestyle Centre. The day was enjoyed by all who attended.

In Calderdale a Shared Lives Got Talent event took place. It had a great attendance and lots of Shared Lives carers and people who use Shared Lives services really went to town with showing their crafts and artwork. Cumbria hosted a Bocchia tournament which resulted in some great local media coverage, whilst South Tyneside hosted a mini triathlon to coincide with learning disability week.

In Northamptonshire they hosted a roadshow for Shared Lives week. They also had information stalls from all of their local health care companies so that all attendees were aware of all local services that are available to them. They also spent Shared Lives week going to local libraries and town centres with a pop up stall to advertise their Shared Lives service and hand out leaflets/posters.

All Shared Lives schemes have made a brilliant effort to celebrate this year’s Shared Lives week theme #SharedLivesChoiceForAll. Shared Lives Plus would like to thank everyone who took part in Shared Lives week and all the efforts that were by everyone in the Shared Lives family to spread the word that Shared Lives should be a choice for all.

We would also like to say a big thank you to Shared Lives carers who told us what they love about sharing their life with the people they support.

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