Judith Holman, our Shared Lives carer support worker will be retiring and taking a well-earned rest in the summer after a long and fruitful working life where she has made a difference to so many people. Judith is planning to continue as a Shared Lives carer and as a member of Shared Lives Plus she intends to keep us all on our toes.
We are taking Judith’s retirement as an opportunity to review the support we give to our Shared Lives carer members and will introduce our new Shared Lives carer support offer towards the end of the summer. In the meantime, Lyn Griffiths and Emma Hill will still be on hand to give support and advice to our members including answering calls to the helpline.
“Hello everyone, after 16 years of working for Shared Plus it is time for me to go. I will be retiring on 6th July but did not want to leave without saying goodbye to the people who make this an Organisation I have wanted to work for – our members. Over the last few years, due to a combination of becoming a single Shared Lives carer and needing to use a wheelchair permanently, my ability to get out and meet you all has been more limited and I have missed that face to face contact I previously enjoyed. I have however really valued the contact I have had with many of you through the telephone helpline and have still been able to spend time with some of you at the Shared Lives carers groups, meetings and conferences I have managed to attend.
Spending a significant amount of time listening and talking to Shared Lives carers on the helpline has I suppose made me very aware of the issues we face in Shared Lives. Probably like many of you I still struggle with questions like how do we hold fast to the vital family ethos of Shared Lives when in every sphere of life increased bureaucracy and paperwork seems to have become the name of the game? How do we develop Schemes that are structured so that everyone has an equal voice? How do we challenge Local Authority safeguarding if it seems the processes have become more important than the individuals they are intended to protect? And how do we ensure that the self-employed status of Shared Lives carers does not detract from being able to expect fair payments terms and conditions? These issues are all important to the future of Shared Lives and together we need to continue to try to tackle them.
Although I will no longer be employed at Shared Lives Plus I will still be a Shared Lives carer continuing to support the person I live with. I also hope to be an active member of Shared Lives Plus. I want to be able to support, and be supported by, other Shared Lives carers and I want to continue to play a part in improving and developing Shared Lives.
I look forward to being in touch with you in the future."
Alex Fox, our CEO, said:
“Judith has been of immeasurable help to thousands of our members over the years with her wisdom, compassion and deep understanding of Shared Lives and what it’s like to be a Shared Lives carer. Like many colleagues, I have learned a huge amount from Judith over the years. Judith has often acted as the ‘conscience’ of the charity, asking the difficult questions and keeping us on the right track. The whole team and I’m sure our members will miss Judith greatly and we wish her a very happy retirement, and look forward to keeping in touch.”