CARERS in Leicester and the people they support are celebrating Shared Lives Week (15-19 June).
Shared Lives is a scheme run by Leicester City Council where adults with learning disabilities or other social care needs get support from carers who treat them as ‘part of the family’. Many live with their carers as a long-term arrangement, but others may spend a respite break with a Shared Lives carer, or visit regularly but live elsewhere.
Shared Lives Week is an annual national awareness-raising week that shines a spotlight on the scheme. This year, Shared Lives schemes from up and down the country will be joining together online for virtual tea parties and singalongs to say ‘thank you’ to all the carers for the amazing work they do.
Carer Jagdish Singh has helped spark a new hobby during lockdown for the adult he supports – who is also called Jagdish. They have discovered a shared interest in photography, and have spent time together learning tips and skills to develop their talents. And for Erran, who is supported by carer Donna Stephenson, social-distance walks with a friend – organised with Donna – have been a lifeline at this difficult time, helping him to maintain important social relationships while on furlough from his job.
Cllr Sarah Russell, deputy city mayor for social care, said: “I want to pay tribute to the fantastic Shared Lives carers that we have here in Leicester. They’ve always shown tremendous dedication, but during the coronavirus crisis they’ve been working harder than ever, supporting some of our most vulnerable residents and helping them to adapt to challenging new routines. Thank you for everything that you do – it’s a testament to the success of our scheme over a number of years that we have been able to continue to support people through Shared Lives.”
Leicester’s Shared Lives scheme currently has 17 carers supporting 21 people in long-term placements. The Shared Lives support team at the city council has been keeping in regular touch with carers during the coronavirus crisis, making around 50 calls every fortnight to ensure carers have the latest help and information regarding PPE, welfare, payments and providing general advice so that they have the support they need.
As well as adults with learning disabilities, Shared Lives also supports people with dementia or mental health issues, and older people.
Carers are paid and have ongoing training. Regular contact and support is given by the Shared Lives team.
To find out more about the scheme and how to become a Shared Lives carer, visit: www.leicester.gov.uk/sharedlives