This job really is a privilege sometimes. We’ve been looking at what it’s like for children growing up in Shared Lives households and I’m very grateful to Niamh, aged 12, who has written the account below of growing up sharing your life, which I think you’ll agree is absolutely brilliant. Thanks also to Niamh’s family including her Dad Martin, who shared this with us and Carole and the team at their Shared Lives scheme, run by Rotherham Council:
The reason that I like Shared Lives is because it gives the peoples Parents or Carers a break so that they can have a rest from looking after and caring for their family members for a short period of time so that they can have some time to themselves. Also the People who come to have respite with us can socialise with other people because my Mum and Dad take other people out, my dad several nights a week and my mum on a Saturday.
Sam was the first ever person from Shared Lives who stayed with us at our house. Even though Sam is blind he has got a great sense of hearing and never misses a trick !. At first I thought me and Sam had nothing in common but I was wrong, he loves music and I love music. We have lots in common so when Sam comes to stay with us on a weekend, at night I go on YouTube on my laptop with him, he says which songs he wants to listen to and I find them for him which he then listens to on his headphones- this can go on for hours!- Sam likes Boyzone, Tom Jones & Kylie !
The first time Sam came to stop with us was for 1 week whilst his shared lives carer went into hospital. My dad along with me and a couple of my friends took Sam to York Maze. It was a really good day out because when we arrived at York Maze me and Sam had our picture took with the York Maze logo ‘Corn on The Cob’. Later on when we got home we went on YouTube.
Me, Sam and ‘Corn On The Cob’ at York Maze
My friends have become a big part of Shared Lives because whenever they come to my house in a morning to meet me for school and someone’s been stopping the previous night, they always say to them “hello” and “how are you?” One person who Sam especially likes is Cendal. When Sam comes to stop at our house he always asks “Is Cendal coming” or “don’t tell Cendal” if his has been up to any of his tricks like turning the television over with the remote control!- Sam is a bit of a prankster !!
It wasn’t so long ago that it was Stevens first time at our house, Also like Sam I thought we had nothing in common but I was wrong because he is 19 and likes playing video games so when he comes to my house I bring my Xbox down stairs and at night we play on it, we play on games such as Fifa 15, Sims 3 and both of our favourite Xbox game Minecraft. When Steven comes to our house we always play on it. When Steven last came to stay my Mum said to me “would you like a baby brother or sister” and Steven said “you don’t need a brother because you’ve got me”. I thought that was a really nice thing to say because he thinks of me as a sister to him.
What can I say about Michael, Whenever he comes to stop at our house he always has something to say. Even though he has Down Syndrome he knows lots of things. He knows lots about Music and who sings which songs. Michael is also very knowledgeable and tells me things that I didn’t even know like when Coronation Street first appeared on the T.V. which is one of Michael’s favourite TV programmes, and every time he comes to stop at our house we all watch Coronation Street down stairs in the Front room. When he comes to stop at our house he keeps a picture of Leanne (actress Jane Danson) (out of coronation street) in his bedroom on his bed side table.
The first time that I met Hilda she was a bit shy, but as she has grown to know me more she isn’t as shy. My mum takes Hilda out on a Saturday for 4 hours, we have taken her to Mexborough, Rotherham, Meadowhall, as well as going out for lunch, helping her with her shopping and getting her hair cut and we have recently taken her to see the Christmas Coca Cola van at Hudderfield on which she was photographed. Last year we went to Cleethorpes for the day and we took Hilda with us, it was a really good day out and she really enjoyed it. Sometimes when the weather is not very good to go out, my mum stays at home and cooks buns and cakes with Hilda. Every time Hilda comes to our house she always makes me smile and laugh. She always has a smile on her face with makes everyone else smile. Hilda loves having a Hot Chocolate made of milk !
Even Oscar our Spaniel dog has taken an interest in Shared Lives.
As he says
‘Shared Lives Rules!’
Woof Woof !!
In my opinion Share Lives is a great thing. It has really shown me how lucky I am and not to take things for granted, it has made me appreciate what I have in my life when other people may be a bit less fortunate than me. By me helping and supporting my parents with Shared Lives is a good way for me to bring a bit of happiness to other people.
I help my Mum and Dad care for people with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities .
12 Years Old