Shared Lives is a service for those that need support in living life to the full, right here in the town they know and love. We're proud to deliver this service in Oldham.
We’re lucky to have a network of Shared Lives Carers who offer a wide range of care and support to vulnerable adults, young people in transition from children’s services / foster care, older people and people who have learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues.
Shared Lives Carers give different levels of support, depending on the needs of the people they’re matched with. Some Carers just give a few hours a week and might help someone who’s already fairly independent to attend a weekly activity, appointment or event.
Others, like Jean, open up their home and share their life with those they’ve chosen to support. A big responsibility but with incredible outcomes for everyone involved.
Jean, over to you…
“Being part of this special family in my hometown is brilliant! I’ve been a Shared Lives Carer now for over 17 years and have been in a handful of long-term matches. At the moment I’m matched with our Katie!
Katie has lived with me and my partner David for five and a half years and in that time, we’ve been really proud to support her as she’s developed and grown. When she first joined us all that time ago, she was struggling with work and some of her own personal relationships. And the effects of her autism were making some things in her life, like socialising, quite difficult.
Things haven’t always been easy and like in every household, we’ve had our moments! I am so pleased though that with some guidance, support and stability, Katie’s changed so much. She’s less isolated and our home is a very happy one.
We still know that she would likely lose some focus and direction without the support of a Carer. There’s a lot to think about in terms of day-to-day life. But Katie is confident, funny and is more self-sufficient than ever!”
We asked Jean a few further questions about her relationship with Katie and the Shared Lives scheme…
Q – What activities does Katie undertake, independently of you?
A – “Well, things are currently a little different due to the Coronavirus pandemic and all the rules that come with it. So, none of us are out and about much at the moment. But she will be again soon!
In normal times, Katie attends various local clubs that I’ve introduced her to. She loves ‘Funky Fitness and Fun’ and the ‘Terence O’Grady Social Club’ for adults with learning disabilities. She is also doing an English language course at the moment which if she passes, gives her a chance of helping school children with learning disabilities with their own studies. Which would be amazing.”
Q – Do you have some shared interests that inform your friendship?
A – “Oh yes, definitely. We both love shopping and walking. We particularly like Dovestones – it’s a beautiful area of Oldham. Also, where we live there’s a lovely open space which is great for walking. Usually we head out once a day which, especially at the moment, can provide some respite and a space to chat and gather our thoughts too.”
Q – Would you recommend being a Shared Lives carer?
A – “Yes, I would. In fact, I‘ve recommended it to quite a few of my friends already!”
Q – Do you find you have enough support from the Shared Lives Oldham staff team? Being a carer sounds like a big commitment
A – “Yes, the team are great and very supportive. They really try and make sure that when matching people together, those people are suited to each other and their individual situations and needs. This is to make sure that the matches work long-term like ours has! And of course, they’re on-hand 24 hours a day to support people if and when they need it.”
Q – Finally, do you and Katie feel some benefit to being part of the Shared Lives Oldham family alongside the other matches across town? Have you attended events or gone on trips with others?
A – “Oh gosh yeah! It’s so important to help give someone a life that’s not just with you.
We both went to Blackpool last year on the group trip and the other people who are in matches in Oldham are truly good friends. If you came to a Shared Lives Oldham party, you’d see just what great friendships people have developed over the years! You really do become a family.
There is lots in common between us all really so you’ve always got plenty to talk about!”
Could you be a long-term Shared Lives Carer in your hometown of Oldham?
Shared Lives Carers are people who offer a wide range of care and support to adults with a range of needs including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities and mental health issues.
Are you over 18 years of age and able to work with vulnerable people? Do you have a spare room in your home? Do you have time and aspiration to support someone and really change their life? If so, we want to hear from you!
We are seeking people with a strong value base who would be willing and able to welcome a person into their homes to live as a member of their family, either on a long-term basis and/or for shorter periods.
Shared Lives Carers receive an allowance for the support they provide of between £250 - £450 per week (dependant on the type of support offered). Carers also receive four weeks paid respite per year and are eligible for a discount scheme.
The Shared Lives Oldham staff team are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year to support this network of incredibly special people.
Click below to view/download our 'Initial Enquiry Pack':
Or to find out more, please call or email the team...
- Call: 0161 770 8777
- Email: SharedLivesTeam@oldham.gov.uk