“It gives me a good feeling inside”

This year’s Shared Lives Plus conference was co-chaired by Paul Croft, who lives in a Shared Lives household and Richard Jones, a Director of Adult Services and one of our trustees. This is what Paul told the conference – he has kindly given me permission to re-print it here:

 “Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  I would just like to say how pleased I am to be here and would like to thank John Dickinson for asking me to Chair this conference.  I think it is a great honour and am delighted to be talking to you now.

I would like to tell you just a little bit about myself and how my life has changed since I joined Shared Lives and moved to Waterloo, just a few miles from here, to live with Geoff my carer with PSS and Bob who Geoff also cares for.

I was at Derwen College in Shropshire at the time and lived there in term time studying catering and office management.  At first I went to Geoff’s in the holidays.  I really enjoyed being at college but we were supervised most of the time and had very little independence. 

When I first went to stay with Geoff my care plan said that I wasn’t allowed to access the community without someone being with me.  I remember wishing I could be like Bob, who was a train driver before his brain injury and would go off regularly visiting places round the country.  At that time I even had to be taken to college at the end of holidays even though I had made the journey many times.

Geoff realised that my life was being restricted because of this and so we started to work on this problem.

I began by posting letters at the end of our street and then going to the shops and bank on my own.  We went out together on longer journeys but when I felt ready we decided that it was time to go on the train on my own.  The station is only 5 minutes from where we live.  I have a very good sense of direction and had no problem going places on the train and also learned to use the bus. Geoff and I have discussed this and both feel this was the real turning point in my life.

When I moved into Geoff’s permanently after leaving Derwen I enrolled at a local college and succeeded in getting an NVQ level 2 in Catering.  I have since successfully completed courses with Barnardo’s St Helen’s College and I am now spending two days a week on an ASDAN level 3 course with Barnardo’s.

I have much to thank Barnardo’s for as while I was on a previous course with them my work experience placement led to a part time paid job at Halfords.  Besides providing me with extra money it gives me a good feeling inside knowing I can do a paid job.

I have lots of interests.  I love to socialise and have joined a number of clubs.  I enjoy most sports but I love going to the races.  Chester is my favourite track.  I have been camping over the last few summers and just over three months ago I met Kimberley who has been my girlfriend since then.

I am very happy in my Shared Lives placement and see this as a brilliant way of learning how to become independent.  Eventually I would like to have my own house or flat.

I would just like to finish by thanking you all for listening.  I hope that you all have a worthwhile and enjoyable Conference.”

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One thought on ““It gives me a good feeling inside”

  1. Thomas Neumark October 23, 2012 / 1:21 am

    Fantastic. Thanks for sharing this. Very moving.

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