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Carers and customers share their experience during Shared Lives Week 2023

Shared Lives Carers for Wiltshire Council will be celebrating Shared Lives Week and have been talking about their experiences and explaining how they make an invaluable difference to people's lives. Shared lives week is 26 - 30 June 2023.

Published 22 June 2023

Wiltshire Council has a number of carers who are making a valuable difference to the lives of vulnerable adults, but they need more people to join the team.

Shared Lives has flourished in Wiltshire for over 40 years. It's a bit like fostering, but with the big difference that it's for people over the age of 16 who want to live as independently as possible. The service is provided to adults who may have a learning difficulty, mental or physical health need or who are elderly and need support and care to live as independently as possible in the community. 

Caren Pearson, a Shared Lives Carer said: I was excited and apprehensive about starting the new role but was really keen to offer a home to someone. The placement has worked out so well and it brings me such joy to see a smile on Tina's face every day just for doing the little simple things.

I'd recommend this role to anyone thinking about doing it. The support from the team has been amazing.

Tina, who now lives with Caren and her family, said: I feel really happy here, it's nice to feel like a human after being stuck in hospital for so long.

Caren and her family have taken me under their wing and I feel supported. The lady from the office came to see me and she supports me really well and got things sorted for me. I would like to stay in a home like this where I can learn to be myself again rather than stuck in hospital.

Sallie Lloyd also found the process of becoming a Shared Lives Carer very easy: I felt supported the whole way through and was confident that if there were aspects of the application that I was unsure of, you would be available to clarify what was required, making the application a smooth process.

The whole process was applicant focused, from start to finish, which I suppose makes sense as the job itself is person-centred. From the first speculative query and visit to my home explaining about how the role worked, to successful completion, it has been a joy.                                                                                                        

Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care said: This is a wonderful service that enables vulnerable adults to live as part of a family and reach their full potential. Our customers have a wide range of abilities and support needs. Some are fairly independent and only need guidance, reminders or explanation, others need assistance with most day-to day needs. 

We Currently have 61 Shared Lives Carers to support vulnerable adults in Wiltshire, but we need more.  The recruitment process has been updated, which means it's now easier than ever to become a carer.

It's a really flexible role and carers can support up to three people. They are self employed and can choose how much support they want to offer and who they support.  Shared Lives Carers receive a fee of up to £640 per week, per person. 

You don't need qualifications to become a Shared Lives Carer but you need to have a wide range of skills and life experience. As long as you're willing to share your life with others and provide care and support, we'd love to hear from you.

A number of fun activities are taking place during Shared Lives Week, and anyone interested in becoming a Shared Lives Carer is welcome to come along and meet the team and current Shared Lives Carers.

Tuesday 27 June, 11am - Butterfly Trail and Coffee at Whitehall Garden Centre

Wednesday 28 June, 11am - Dogs for Health Walk and Coffee at Southwick Country park

Thursday 29 June, 9.30am - Inflatable Assault Course and Picnic in Trowbridge Park

Friday 30 June, 1.30pm - 3.30pm - Sports Inclusion at the Olympiad Leisure Centre, Chippenham

More information about the Shared Lives and Shared Days  scheme is available on our website at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/6816/Overview

Email sharedlives@wiltshire.gov.uk. (opens new window), call 01380 826451 or visit Facebook: Shared Lives Wiltshire (opens new window) or X: Shared Lives Wiltshire (@SLWiltshire) (opens new window).

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