A Leicester woman is celebrating her 20th anniversary in the Shared Lives scheme.
Lynne Jones, 64, from Leicester, has been living with her Shared Lives carers, Carol and Rick Wright, for 20 years.
Shared Lives is a scheme run by Leicester City Council where adults with learning disabilities live with carers who support them as ‘part of the family’. Many, like Lynne, do this as a long-term arrangement, but others may simply spend a respite break with a Shared Lives carer, or visit regularly but live elsewhere.
Lynne moved into Carol and Rick’s Aylestone home on 4 January 2000. Before that, she lived in a few temporary Shared Lives placements, and with family members.
Carol and Rick have supported Lynne in lots of ways since she moved in. They helped her to attend night school, where she learned to read and write, so that she can now enjoy reading books before bed.
Lynne also works in a local charity shop, attends a disco once a week, and has been on lots of holidays with her carers.
Carol said: Lynne is part of our family and we’re delighted that she’s been with us for 20 years. She’s a very special person. She wanted to celebrate her 20th anniversary by going bowling and for a meal, so that is what we arranged, and the whole family had a wonderful day.
“As anyone who offers care and support in their home will know, it can be demanding, but it’s also hugely rewarding and can be great fun. We all have our own support workers in the Shared Lives scheme and they offer excellent support, as well as ensuring we have appropriate training so that everyone in the scheme gets the best out of it.
“We are very glad to be a part of Shared Lives. We feel that we’ve offered Lynne so many varied opportunities she wouldn’t have had if she had moved to residential care.”
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on social care, said: “Being in a Shared Lives placement means Lynne can be an active member of the community, but she also has the security of knowing there is someone there at home if she ever feels anxious or needs help.
“I’d like to congratulate Lynne on reaching this milestone, and thank Carol and Rick for being such great carers. It’s fantastic to see our Shared Lives scheme working so well for people.”
Shared Lives currently has around 22 adults in long-term placements, with seven more in day care or respite placements. They are supported by 34 caring households.
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