Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Dudley North MP is backing Shared Lives - a scheme to help adults with additional/complex needs across Dudley to remain in the community.

Carers are given training and then are paid to open up their home and support people to lead as independent life as possible and stay connected with the local community.

Currently, there are approximately 14,000 people being supported up and down the UK in this way.

The Camphill Village Trust scheme is nearly a full year into their new contract and have already set up 12 Arrangements, receiving over 70 enquiries for a variety of additional support needs from learning disability, autism, mental ill health, through to older people and hospital discharges.

The Shared Lives scheme is currently in in the process of assessing a further six new households with another 5 in the early stages to add to their existing 35 households.

New Carers like Chris and Nicky from Kingswinford who were recently approved by an Independent Panel and carefully matched with Alex, as part of a long-term Arrangement.

For Alex this has meant getting used to new family routines to further develop his independence, who benefits greatly from the Shared Lives scheme.

Alex said:

“Where I lived before, I was getting up when I wanted and eating ready meals every day, but I’ve got lots more things to do now and I’ve learned how to cook my favourite meal, Spaghetti Bolognese…plus I’m hoping to go to college as well.

“Now, just a few months on, Alex has really grasped the opportunities that have been presented to him, he has settled well into the family set up and is flourishing within his new environment.”

Shared Lives Carers, Chris and Nicky, added:

“Before Alex was matched to live with us, he was leading a quite unfulfilled lifestyle. I think it would be fair to say he did not have certain life skills that we possibly all take for granted.

“All we have offered is our time, experience and knowledge, so it’s very satisfying when people say they can already see a change in Alex.

“That’s when it sinks in, that we are providing a nurturing and caring environment for Alex to develop the skills, which will one day will enable him to lead an independent life of his own.”

Registered Manager, Kate Morgan commented:

“Shared Lives offers opportunity for those people with the right values and commitment to develop a social care career and earn up to £29K annually as a self-employed Carer…it’s such a rewarding role which really challenges the assumptions of what can be achieved within an ordinary family home.”

Ian Austin said:

“It’s great that Camphill Village Trust are able to offer this unique model of care which is able to help so many people locally.

“Shared Lives not only provides innovative housing and support options but also offers people the chance to lead the life of opportunity they deserve whilst remaining in the community.”



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