Posted: Mon 24th Oct 2016

Caring Local People Sharing Their Lives To Support Others

This article is old - Published: Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

Could you open up your home and share your life to care for someone in need? ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are currently around 25 people from around Bridgend County Borough doing just that as ‘Shared Lives’ carers, welcoming vulnerable adults to become a part of their families in their own homes. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Many of those caring individuals came together this week to share their stories at a special conference held in the Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel to mark national ‘Shared Lives Week’. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Among those attending were husband and wife, Donald and Christine Morgan from Pencoed, who have been Shared Lives carers for the last three years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Donald and Christine became involved in the scheme as it enabled them to continue caring for a young man that they’d fostered since he was just 16 months old. As his 18th birthday was approaching, he was due to leave the fostering system but thanks to Shared Lives, the young man who is blind and has learning difficulties continues to live with them in a loving, stable, family home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Run by care organisation ategi in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, the Shared Lives scheme is for anyone who has been assessed by social services as needing help with their accommodation but who would prefer, or be better suited, to live in the ordinary home of a Shared Lives carer with whom they are suitably matched in their community rather than a shared house or care home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Many people with learning disabilities currently benefit from living with Shared Lives carers, but the support provided by the scheme also suits people with mental health issues, acquired brain injuries, physical disabilities and older people. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Tim Southern, the Chief Executive of ategi, said: “ategi has provided Shared Lives services in South Wales for over 15 years. Our work is focused on finding the right kind of people who can support, and then providing them with guidance, advice and training so that everyone has the information they need to ensure a safe and happy place to live. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We put great importance on carefully matching ategi carers with people who suit their circumstances, skills and lifestyles because Shared Lives is more than care provision – it is a lifestyle choice. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“People who live or who have short breaks with ategi Shared Lives carers are supported as individuals in the heart of their communities in a way that they choose. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It was fascinating to speak to Donald and Christine Morgan, and all of our other ategi Shared Lives carers at the conference. While their circumstances and stories vary, they all share the same warmth and kindness required for the role.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Shared Lives carers all receive full training, on-going support and good rates of pay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Phil White, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am always astounded by the selflessness shown by people who carry out caring roles – they make such a significant contribution to our local community. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Shared Lives Scheme in Bridgend County Borough is part of a service that ategi provides across the wider Western Bay region, also covering the City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This arrangement between the three local authorities and ategi is a good example of greater partnership working to attract new carers to support vulnerable people who need help to live their lives.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Everyone who applies to be a Shared Lives carer is thoroughly assessed and vetted before being matched with someone who suits their lifestyle and circumstances. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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