"This job is very rewarding" Find out what it means to be a Shared Lives carer in Hackney
With a little bit of patience and determination, being a Shared Lives carer can be the most rewarding job you can have.
You may see someone you care for slowly build up their confidence, start something new or just be content and happy in a safe and loving environment you have provided for them.
Shared Lives Hackney is a CQC registered care and support service. They match adults with support needs with a local carer, and the service aims to be a positive alternative to supported living and residential care.
As a Shared Lives carer in Hackney you will make a real difference to people’s lives. You will give some of our most vulnerable residents independence and a safe environment to thrive in, whilst being supported every step of the way. I encourage anyone who has a spare room, or even spare time to host day visits, to find out more about the initiative and how to get involved.
Shared Lives Hackney have launched a recruitment campaign across the borough to recruit carers from all backgrounds and ethnicities who want to make a difference to the lives of local vulnerable adults.
One current Shared Lives care worker, Montserrat Rodriguez, joined Hackney Shared Lives back in 1998 and has since welcomed 15 different service users into her Clapton home.
Montserrat currently hosts two people in her home, Paul who has been with her for ten years and James who she welcomed almost five years ago.
She said: “I started when I had young children and couldn’t leave them to go out to work. The shared lives scheme helped me to maintain an income whilst helping vulnerable people in the community.
“Over the years I have hosted many people in my home, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help improve the lives of so many people.
“It is an honour to help them and I really enjoy seeing how the safe and happy environment I can offer them improves their health and wellbeing.”
She added: “I have excellent support from Hackney Council officers who have guided me every step of the way, from completing the assessment process to providing support once the service user has moved in. They’re always on hand and make sure you feel supported”
Shared Lives carers receive regular supervision and ongoing training and support. Each placement is supported by a Shared Lives worker who will meet with you regularly and you will benefit from regular breaks and being part of a wider Shared Lives support network.
Montserrat has taken family holidays with both Paul and James and says they have the most wonderful time together. In previous years she has taken them both to Spain, which they really enjoyed.
James, 58 said: “Before I moved in with Montserrat, my life was sad, but since moving in I am much healthier and happier. We go out to lots of places together, including the gym, shopping and even the cinema.” James has even written a cookbook with the assistance of Montserrat - as they both share a love of cooking.
For Montserrat the Shared Lives Schemes has changed her life, it has allowed her to stay at home whilst earning an income doing something she loves.
She said: “This job is very rewarding, I am able to provide a home for someone who really needs it and there is no better feeling than that.”
Montserrat has loved watching Paul and James develop and grow in confidence since they started living with her.
She supports both men to make choices and decisions for themselves and to become responsible, including helping to book appointments and get ready for activities outside the home, such as sports and day care centre.
She added: “I would encourage anyone who has a spare room to sign up to the Shared Lives scheme, it’s a great way to earn an income and do something great for your local community.”
Carers earn an average of £500 a week , all training / DBS’s are paid for by the scheme and carers are provided with an Ipad and 4 weeks paid break a year.
To join the scheme or to find out more click here.