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Human rights award for free expression – winners!

Human rights award for free expression

Human rights was our conference theme this year and this category really brought home the quality and life-giving work that Shared Lives carers bring through their empowering relationships.

Winner: Meg Lewis, MacIntyre

Meg was nominated by two of her Shared Lives carers, another person who uses Shared Lives, and her scheme manager. She searched out for a family and came across Shared Lives when she was ready to leave the hospital she had been living in for five years.

Her friend says, “We have lots of fun but also discuss difficult issues that may arise. She even trusts me to mind her puppy and this gets me out and about!”

Hayley Smythe, Meg’s first Shared Lives carer says, “I have watched her grow in confidence with all aspects of her life, especially making her own friendships with people that have her own beliefs, ideals and sense of adventure. It has been an amazing journey mentoring her and I continue to learn, just as much as she has learnt from me. Shared Lives really does bring people together that creates real love respect and friendships.”

Kathryn Yates, MacIntyre scheme manager says, “Meg’s voice is devastatingly authentic. She has a talent in being able to articulate what she sees and its impact on society, people who have support and herself. This can sometimes be uncomfortable listening for me, our charity, scheme or our carers.

She feeds back when she is treated differently, when professionals don’t keep to what they have said or confuse boundaries. She has inspired us to respond not as a service to a user, but as humans to a human.”

And here’s Meg talking to Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS recently:

Highly commended for human rights award for free expression

Jack Hogan, Hampshire Shared Lives

According to his Shared Lives carer, didn’t easily make friends and was often in bed with anxiety. His Shared Lives carer motivated him to step outside his comfort zone and has helped him to deal with all these issues. He now has a paid job, goes on holiday with his new friends and has learnt new skills such as cooking, going out, kayaking and abseiling! His carer says, “We are really proud of him for being strong minded and voicing his opinions and his right to choose – he has given his all to becoming a much happier person.

Sofie Bates, Nottinghamshire

Gemma Scott, Shared Lives carer, said, “Sofie has learnt to say NO and is now doing things that she wants to do. She realises she has a voice, and is now a very sociable, confident young lady and a valued member of the community! She has recently completed dental therapy for the first time in 24 years, overcoming her fear to get sparkly teeth!

Helen Hall, Nottinghamshire Shared Lives scheme manager says, “I have personally seen a huge difference in her ability to express herself and take advantage of the opportunities to make her choices known.”

Douglas Bradley, Shared Lives West Sussex

Who was supported to become a local councillor. Daniel Luscombe, scheme manager says, “People with learning disabilities are vastly underrepresented in public life. Derick (Douglas’ Shared Lives carer) is an inspiration to all and gives his time to improving the lives of people in his local area. He’s a real people’s person, an advocate of human rights and community man in the true sense of the word.”

Stephen Gunn, New Directions, Merseyside

Pat Haines, Shared Lives carer, says “When we first met Stephen, he was very introvert, over the past four years he has totally surprised us with his achievements. He was almost unable to read and write, but now has completed many diplomas at college. He’s become an integral part of the local community, he goes to Church where he sings in the choir. He now expresses his views in all areas of his life and accepts that they can differ from others’ points of view.

Here’s their fabulous video! Thank you for making a film of your life!