Here’s a guest blog from Simon Taylor (email@example.com), who supports our micro-enterprise members:
Inflation at the AGM
A fascinating couple of days: Shared Lives Plus is now 20 years old and the staff team are inflating helium balloons to deck the tables set for dinner after the Annual General Meeting. Our production line is only occasionally frustrated by the loss of a balloon and its ribbon into the lighting space above the conference facility. Based in Liverpool, the town of our head office, the celebrations and the AGM went splendidly and the following day’s conference also exceeded our expectations.
Celebrations and successes
The celebration focused on the huge steps made in the reach of the Shared Lives model, embodied in ‘Shared Lives Week’ events: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/en/conferencesevents/shared-lives-week/. Also my own area of concern, for the micro-enterprise providers of care and support, was not forgotten and I was up early the next day to finalise preparations for my workshop. This was on how delivering micro-enterprise services can also be a choice for Shared Lives Carers.
The workshop highlighted some of Shared Lives Plus’ micro-enterprise members who have benefited from our support. Micro-enterprises deliver personalised services in their locality and collectively offer a marketplace that represents real choice and control for people who buy their services.
Delegates were particularly impressed by Dee who worked in the voluntary sector for more than 15 years with vulnerable adults and saw how they struggled with everyday activities, especially when they did not have any relatives or friends nearby. Thus she saw a need, set up Help @ Home and now offers support (not including personal care as her service is not regulated) services to enable people to remain independent in their own homes. A lady with a sensory impairment can now go shopping and collect her prescription and a man who has Parkinson’s can have a clean and tidy home he is proud to invite people to visit.
Shared Lives and micro-enterprise
Nine out of ten of the workshop delegates who were from Shared Lives Schemes felt that having a local, thriving market of micro-enterprise providers was a very good thing. They commented that people could develop from their care and support talents the very flexibility in services that would offer real choice and control in local communities.
Some Shared Lives Carers have jobs, working around the responsibilities of their carer role, and many also consider how they could bring their understanding of people’s care needs to other small local services. We have developed a guide helping carers to think about the issues involved in developing additional services and I am always happy to discuss with people their aspirations and ideas.
Twenty years of Shared Lives Plus was a great celebration focusing on highlighting the change great care and support can make to people’s lives. Micro-enterprises have a distinct advantage in that their size means they can provide the personal touch that makes real the personalise support we would all wish for. Find out more about our micro-enterprise members and our support here: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/en/services/microenterprise/case-studies/