Oldham Shared Lives is a service for those that need support in living life to the full!

It relies on a network of Shared Lives Carers who receive an allowance of between £13k - £21k per year (amount dependant on circumstances and level of care required) to help give that support. We’re incredibly lucky in Oldham to have brilliant carers like Miriam, who you’ll be able to read about below.

One Miriam is great. But we need more Miriams! We’re seeking long-term Shared Lives Carers to give support to people who might present with physical, learning or sensory difficulties or a mental health problem.

Here’s Miriam’s story, detailing her experience of the Oldham Shared Lives service and her support of Sam, with whom she’s been sharing her time, hobbies and life since 2013…

“I applied to be a Shared Lives Carer in May 2013 and after completing the approval process, I was matched with Sam just a few months later. Sam’s been living with me in a long-term placement for the last five years.

She’s now 36 years old but to give you some background, since turning 18 Sam had lived in a variety of different settings including a specialist residential college for people living with sight loss and other disabilities, as well as various supported living houses. She went on to try living on her own with a supporting care package but found it difficult to settle and subsequently a referral was made to Oldham Shared Lives.

Prior to moving in with me full-time, Sam spent a few months visiting at weekends so that she could get used to both her new house and her new housemate! When she officially moved in, I was delighted to introduce her to my circle of friends and the community I’m part of here in Oldham.

Originally being from the Philippines myself, I was already a member of the local Filipino Association. Despite Sam actually being from Cambodia she’s now an honorary member of the Association too! We enjoy attending lots of social events and parties together. And we soon discovered another shared passion - music. I was pleased to introduce Sam to friends in my choir too.

Sam’s first unforgettable experience in our home was her birthday. I organised a party where she said she wanted a ‘Girls Aloud’ fancy dress theme. Sam donned a long wig and dressed up as her favourite member Cheryl. It was great fun!

We’ve got so much in common - as well as music and parties we both love shopping, meals out and going to Church. Recently I’ve also introduced Sam to Zumba which she seems to really enjoy.

Sam has made a huge impact on my life and we have a very strong bond. When I initially made the decision to be a Shared Lives Carer, I couldn’t possibly have imagined just what a life changing journey I was about to embark on. I’m not just Sam’s carer, we’ve become great friends. We both care for and respect each other and I couldn’t think of anyone better to share my life with.

I have a fantastic relationship with the Oldham Shared Lives team and it’s good to know that they’re always there - night or day - to support me and Sam if we need it. I feel valued as a carer and I’m proud to be part of a fantastic service that makes such a positive difference to people’s lives. I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

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It’s been brilliant to watch Miriam help Sam live life to the full. We’ve got countless stories from carers who can testify to how much their own lives have been enriched as they’ve supported others.

Could you be a long-term Shared Lives Carer in your hometown of Oldham? Are you over 18 years of age and able to work with vulnerable people? Do you have a spare room in your home? If so, we want to hear from you! We are seeking people with a strong value base and who are keen to make a big difference to someone in their community.

Whilst it’s not a paid position, as mentioned above an allowance of £13k – £21k per year is given to carers to help them offer this support. Carers also receive four weeks paid respite a year and are eligible for a discount scheme. The Oldham Shared Lives team are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year to support this network of incredibly special people.

To register your interest or to find out more, contact the team...

- Call: 0161 770 8777
- Email: SharedLivesTeam@oldham.gov.uk

Thanks for taking the time to read Miriam and Sam's story. Please do share it with your friends.

We look forward to hearing from some special Oldhamers!