1 Tell us what you do.
We are developing a new and innovative service for the national charity, called Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives. Shared Lives is sometimes described as a bit like ‘foster care for adults’…but it’s so much more than that, as we enable the people we support to be in control and make their own choices in life.
People are carefully matched to stay with specially trained Shared Lives Carers on either a long-term, respite or day support basis, who provide tailored-support to maximise independence, build self-esteem and encourage new social skills, so the person can lead the same ordinary life just like you and me.
2 What is your proudest achievement?
Throughout 2017, we were busy establishing the new scheme, which to date we have already approved three households, with another four currently being assessed.
We are particularly proud of the fact that we have recruited several local Afro-Caribbean and Asian families to become Shared Lives Carers, as we are very keen that our scheme reflects the communities in which we all live.
3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Mazeline has been so supportive of the new scheme from the start, by regularly publishing our articles, helping us spread the word and recruit Carers from across Sandwell.
4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The people we know and work with in Sandwell, are hard-working, happy to help-out and always have a smile on their faces, regardless of how stressful life might be at times. They are straight-talking and say it how it is.
5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to carry on recruiting and training prospective carers, so that we can provide a choice of high-quality Shared Lives Arrangements across the region. However, the challenge is, in finding those special households who want to welcome someone into their home.
You don’t need any qualifications or previous experience, just the right values, commitment and of course a spare room. You are paid according to the level of support you provide and with self-employed status, qualify for tax relief.
6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
It’s really important to us that SCVO carry on being supportive and getting our message out across Sandwell, as research suggests that people who use Shared Lives, are known to live longer, healthier and happier lives.