Putting the spotlight on Shared Lives carers in Hackney
People living in Hackney who open up their homes and the adults they provide care for, were celebrated at a Town Hall event to mark Shared Lives Week, from 17 - 21 June 2019.
There are 15 Shared Lives Carers in Hackney who support 19 vulnerable people, with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues, to live in the community. A tea party was held for the carers and service users on Wednesday 19 June and each one was presented with an award to recognise their work.
The event was co-produced with service users. Haggerston Perk Cafe in Bethnal Green - a supported internship and employment cafe for young people with learning difficulties - provided and served the food for the tea party. Pantonic Steel Orchestra, a Hackney based community steel band provided music. St Mary's Secret Garden - a community garden managed by people with support needs - provided floral place settings for each table and bouquets for every carer and for Cllr Feryal Clark, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care, Leisure and Parks.
Monserrat Rodriguez from Clapton Pond has been a Shared Lives Carer for 21 years. She provides a home for two people, James and Pete, helping them to live in the community.
Carers like Monserrat are recruited, trained and supported by Hackney's Shared Lives team to become a Shared Lives Carer. They are then 'matched' with a vulnerable person from Hackney and paid for the support and care they provide. Placements can be long-term or short-term and are flexible to allow people to provide care for as long as they are able to, whether that is for a few weeks, months or years to suit their individual circumstances.
There are approximately 150 Shared Lives schemes throughout the UK. Hackney is part of the national organisation, Shared Lives Plus. Hackney's Shared Lives Scheme has recently been rated 'Good' following the last inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), this year.
Most of Hackney's Shared Lives Carers have been working for over 20 years. The carers and the people living with them live normal lives and have also travelled around the world to different locations including New York, Mauritius, Jamaica, Tenerife, Cyprus, Spain or enjoyed UK trips to North Wales and Eastbourne.
If anyone is interested in becoming a Shared Lives Carer and has a spare room, please call our Shared Lives Carers team on 020 8356 8070, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.hackney.gov.uk/shared-lives-help for more information.
I really enjoy this. Both men live with my family so they are part of our family network. Sometimes it can be very hard and challenging but James for example, has been staying with me for so long, that I couldn't imagine him not living with my family. I am really happy to be presented with an award and to be recognised for the work I do.
It is wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate the excellent and amazing work our Shared Lives carers do in the borough. Their work enriches the lives not only of the individuals that they support but our wider community in Hackney.”
Our Shared Lives carers offer their spare rooms and support people to be as independent as they can. As well as improving outcomes for the individual, helping someone in this way can be incredibly rewarding. It is wonderful to see the friendships and mutual support forged through the Shared Lives scheme.