Inspirational Wiltshire carers hold virtual tea parties for Shared Lives Week

Inspirational Shared Lives Wiltshire carers who open up their homes to support young people and adults, will be hosting virtual tea parties and sharing their heartwarming stories online this month.

Published 10 June 2020

The carers will be talking about their experiences as part of Shared Lives Week between 15 and 21 June.

Shared Lives is a unique caring arrangement enabling more than 14,000 people nationally with a learning or physical disability, mental ill health, dementia or other ongoing needs, to share their carer's home and family life.

Currently Shared Lives Wiltshire is looking to recruit to the local scheme. People with care and support needs are referred to the scheme and matched with a formerly-recruited carer in Wiltshire. The carer is paid between £371 and £571 per week and receives support, training and guidance from the Shared Lives team at Wiltshire Council.

Celebrations will be taking place across the UK as part of Shared Lives week, organised by Shared Lives Plus, the UK charity, which is celebrating the work carried out by over 10,000 Shared Lives carers. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Shared Lives in Wiltshire will be sharing stories, videos and photos online and hosting a virtual tea party for all their carers.

Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: Shared Lives is a really unique way to provide support in our communities.  It can be hugely rewarding for the carers and be such a positive force to the person they are caring for. Our carers are amazing and this week is also a great opportunity to thank them for the huge difference they can make to a person's life.

Ali and Pete have been Shared Lives carers in Wiltshire for more than 19 years and find the scheme extremely rewarding. Ali said: We enjoy supporting people to live the good life they life they deserve. It's amazing to watch someone grow and change in great ways. We always encourage and support the people we care for to do the things they want to do.

Shared Lives promotes people's rights, choices and independence and helps vulnerable people feel included in family life and community activities.

Rachel, who has been part of Shared Lives Wiltshire for nearly five years said: Dolly and Kevin make me part of our family and involve me in activities every day. I love being part of our family.

Some Shared Lives carers support people for shorter periods of time to provide respite for family members or other Shared Lives carers.

Pamela, whose sister has been staying with Carmel and Dave in Wiltshire said: My sister's respite carers have been excellent. They have made an amazing effort to help my sister and I keep in touch through Skype calls on a regular basis. The changes I now see in my sister's communication skills are amazing and she is so happy and relaxed there.

Shared Lives aims to reduce loneliness by ensuring that vulnerable people can choose who they spend time with - and do what matters to them. Shared Lives in Wiltshire has been rated good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). More generally the care is consistently rated the best quality and safest form of care across the UK, with currently 96% of schemes rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as reported in a Shared Lives Plus article.

Ryan Iyavoo manager of Shared Lives Wiltshire says, As we celebrate Shared Lives week we want to thank our dedicated carers for the fantastic work they do in Wiltshire, helping to create a kinder, stronger and more inclusive society. In recent months Covid-19 has presented challenges for many of our Shared Lives families, which only further emphasises the amazing job they do in helping to improve the lives of so many people.

For more information about Shared Lives Wiltshire please visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer and sharing your home with someone who needs support, please call 01380 826451 or email sharedlives@wiltshire.gov.uk..

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Published 10 June 2020