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Seaside celebration of Shared Lives

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Families, carers and people who use adult care services in Hampshire joined a celebration of the distinguished Shared Lives Scheme.

Almost 200 people from 18 Shared Lives Schemes across the south east region met at Butlins at Bognor Regis, West Sussex, as part of Shared Lives week. At the event they were able to meet other participants from Shared Lives Schemes and share their experiences.

Hampshire's Shared Lives Scheme was started more than 30 years ago by Hampshire County Council and was one of the first such schemes in the country.

Shared Lives offers long and short stays as well as day opportunities for adults needing care and support for learning or physical disabilities, mental health problems, or older people unable to live independently.

In Hampshire the scheme currently supports around 300 people and the140 carers who look after them.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: Shared Lives is built around the needs and desires of individuals. This means people staying with a Shared Lives carer can feel part of a family and community. It is a home from home.

"People are preferring to move away from traditional day and respite services in favour of a more personalised touch and Shared Lives is able to offer this. This scheme can offer independence clients may never have experienced before.

"Carers are the cornerstone of the Shared Lives Scheme and people who have taken on the challenge of becoming a Shared Lives carer have found it to be a rewarding and life-enhancing role."

Linda has been a Shared Lives Carer for three years and in that time has provided three long stay placements and three respite placements. She currently lives with two people, one with Mental Health problems and one with a learning disability. Linda said: "Shared Lives is a great scheme, providing more normal environments for adults with some form of difficulty and integrating the adults that use this service into communities, homes and family where they live. This also allows for the carers to provide care in a much more homely/family orientated way again giving everyone access to a more relaxed, enjoyable and normal way of life."

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