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Hello, we hope you’re all enjoying your Friday. Our Friday motivation this week is to continue to spread the word of our organisation and show everyone how we help transform the quality of people’s lives.  Today, whilst scrolling through Twitter I saw #dowhatyoucant (celebrating people who defy barriers in life)  trending and I began to think, what does that mean from a Shared Lives Plus perspective? So, I had a think whilst eating lunch and for us, we believe that all the people who use Shared Lives services and those who are not aware of us can #dowhatyoucant. Our interpretation…
My First Shared Lives Event My first Shared Lives event last week took me to Chelmsford in Essex for the first time in my life. The day began with each person introducing themselves briefly. Sporting a name badge with the job title “Marketing Manager”, I thought it was best to come clean to everybody before we started that I hadn’t actually been promoted and that I was only in my second week. Once introductions were over, Lyn explained how Shared Lives Plus membership works. It was interesting to gain an overview of how the membership can benefit Shared Lives carers…
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 16:14

Culture change is no change

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A while ago a wrote three blogs about three ways to avoid real change. Here’s a fourth: talk about the change we need as being ‘a culture change’. Most the most profound and important changes we need to see in public services, we describe as ‘culture changes’. Things like the need for the NHS to be patient-centred (who was it centred on before?); the end to covering up mistakes and blaming other people (‘blame culture’); a shift towards focusing on what people can do and their individuality, not what they can’t do and the label we’ve given them. What do…
Monday, 01 February 2016 06:32

Every community needs catalysts

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My colleague Sian Lockwood OBE is Chief Executive of our sister organisation, Community Catalysts CIC, which has developed a highly effective model for helping local areas to find, grow and sustain community enterprises, some of them micro-scale, as a way of creating completely new care and support choices for local people. The model involves recruiting and training a local enterprise Catalyst who is embedded in the area to find, nurture and network local social entrepreneurs, helping them to set up enterprises and to navigate any bureaucracies they run into along the way. This can often be the missing link between personal budgets and real…
Monday, 08 February 2016 05:57

The power of communities

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This is a guest blog by our Director of Support and Development, Anna McEwen (@annasharedlives) who writes: The other day I was walking down my street on the way to the station to go to work. As I passed my neighbours a few houses down from my house an old man leaning on his zimmer frame was calling for help from his front door.  As I went over, he told me that his wife had had a fall and he needed help. So, I went in and found his wife on the floor in the front room (their bedroom) where…
Sunday, 21 February 2016 09:07

Life is not as scary as I thought

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Here is Matt’s Shared Lives story: more stories on our website.   “My name is Matthew Sheppard and I have lived in Shared Lives for five years. I live with Chris and Denis my carers and two other guys. 
Thursday, 03 March 2016 08:49

No evidence for personal budgets?

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  The National Audit Office (has published a fairly scathing report on what it sees as the lack of evidence being gathered on the impact of implementing personal budgets. It recognises that personal budgets have wide support and that most people (but not all) benefit from the policy, and it notes the number of anecdotes of positive experience, but it does not accept that the national surveys of outcomes associated with personal budget use are robust enough as a national evidence base, because they rely on councils choosing to take part.
Sunday, 06 March 2016 06:22

Back off! (a little bit)

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  This is a guest blog written by three of our seven new Ambassadors, Dipan, Phoebe and Paul, who were working with Lyn Griffiths, our Support and Engagement Manager. The Ambassadors are our first team members who use Shared Lives themselves. Their roles include peer review, raising awareness and improving the Shared Lives model. They write:
Thursday, 17 March 2016 14:01

Future social work

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The Think Local, Act Personal partnership has published a paper which I helped to author: Developing a Wellbeing and Strengths-based Approach to Social Work . Here is my foreword to the paper which looks at how social work could change to deliver the Care Act’s vision for wellbeing, drawing on Asset Based Community Development thinking and similar ideas:
Local Area Coordinators work in a small neighbourhood and have an open door for individuals and families at risk of developing greater support needs. They have the time and space to get to know people and help them identify what a good life looks like to them and how best to achieve it. LACs don’t just look at a person or family’s needs, but also at their capabilities and potential. Their goal is to help people to find practical ways of doing the things they want or need to do, developing and using supportive relationships and being part of community…

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