Shared Lives celebrate another successful Drop In

Blog by Alice Blakeman, Development Manager  

I can’t quite believe that this year, 2024, marks 30 years of Bethphage! To commemorate this milestone, some of our Trustees and members of our Executive Management Team are hitting the road to visit some of our fantastic services, meet our staff and the people we support.  

For my visit, I joined our Shropshire Shared Live’s Scheme drop in in Oswestry at Freda’s Day Centre. This quarterly drop in is really popular with our Shared Lives Carers and people being supported.  

Shared Lives Manager, Stacey Bourne explained to me why these drop ins are so important:  

“They bring together carers, the people being supported and our Shared Lives Officers so they can get to know each other, share learning and experiences and build a network of support locally.  We also invite new applicants to our drop ins, giving them the opportunity to meet our existing carers and learn directly from their experiences, helping them decide whether it is right for them.” 

I spoke with Nigel who, along with his wife Vanessa, has been a Shared Lives Carer for 14 years.  I asked about the qualities Nigel felt that Shared Lives Carers need to have, “compassion, and the ability able to give people a normal life – to be part of their story is a great joy.” 

Monique, who I also chatted to at the drop in, has lived with Nigel and Vanessa for 4 years. Monique recalls when they first met, “I went to their house, they had their Christmas decorations up and I thought instantly, this is where I want to be!”

Prior to living with Nigel and Vanessa, Monique had been living on her own after the death of her mother. Under Nigel and Vanessa’s guidance, Monique learnt how to live heathier through improved diet and exercise. Being supported through Shared Lives has transformed Monique’s life. She now plays an active role in the community, following her hobbies and interests which include attending pub quizzes, drama club, playing tennis at the Special Olympics and volunteering at the museum.  

Nigel is so positive about being a Shared Lives carer, he has encouraged his son Nathan to become one.  “It is more than care; they are part of the family.”  

I asked Stacey about her plans for Shared lives scheme this year:  

“ We are looking forward to celebrating to Shared Lives week from 25th June 2024 at our head office in Shrewsbury. We are excited to welcome back, Shared Lives Plus who will be visiting us once again. There will be a raffle and we will be selling a variety of products from our Day Opportunities Social Enterprises which include a mixture of arts and crafts, fresh farm produce as well as jams and chutneys. The highlight of Shared Lives week for us will be the unveiling of the mural along with a new video about Shropshire Shared Lives. “ 

We are also really proud about our Shared Lives Officer Sue who is challenging herself on her birthday to complete the Three Peaks Challenge. Any money raised will be used to provide more events and special occasions for Shared Lives carers and people being supported.  

We are always on the look out for new Shared Lives carers and will be visiting venues across Shropshire to talk all things Shared Lives! It is a great opportunity to meet our team and find out more about becoming a Shared Lives Carer. Check out our Facebook page and the Bethphage Website for dates and venues. 

Bethphage Shared Lives at the seaside
Shared Lives Horse riding

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