Life is not as scary as I thought

Here is Matt’s Shared Lives story: more stories on our website.

Matt Sheppard 

“My name is Matthew Sheppard and I have lived in Shared Lives for five years.

I live with Chris and Denis my carers and two other guys. I like living here because they respect my own space as it is very important to me and I am able to live as independently as possible and experience live to the fullest and days out, events, meetings and making friends.”

How long have those who support you been involved in Shared Lives?
Chris my carer grew up in a Shared Lives setting as his parents and grandparents are Shared Lives carers too. Chris and Denis have been Shared Lives carers for five years now.

What do you like about living in Shared Lives?
I used to find new things, new people, and experiences difficult as change was hard for me to understand but since living with Chris and Denis I have watched and experienced everyday life and seen life is not as scary as I thought. I now love meeting people and doing new things.

How has your lifestyle/health changed since living in Shared Lives?
I’m very healthy. Chris and Denis help me plan my weeks ahead for appointments such as doctors, dentist, days out and visitors and I have a calendar so I can keep track of what’s going on so I am able to understand better, and I get to experience lots of new things.

Tell us about your screwball rally races!
I love going on the screwball rally as I love cars. When we all go its great fun as everyone is in fancy dress and the cars are too and I get to see friends which I made the year before and get to check out their new car or see what they have done to the old car and then we all meet up for drinks and food and a party at the end of the day. We also meet up with my mum and her partner as they go ahead and meet us at new destination and I get to see lots of new places on the way. On the last rally, our car was in the French newspaper it was very exciting as all the people were waving at me as we drove through the villages.

What do you use to decorate the cars?
One year we painted our hands and put hand prints all over the car and the last car we did was my favourite because I love teddy bears. We stuck 200 teddy bears all over the car, we made it the teddy bears picnic and had picnics all over Europe – the best one was in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I have lots of new hobbies too, I like computers, taking photos, and fishing trips. I use the net to pick up fish, my next aim is to try the fishing rod and this year I did the London to Brighton Land Rover run which was good fun and I did Brighton Colour Run – great fun, I got covered in lots of colour.

I also love to travel. Chris took me to Turkey which I loved especially going to all the different temples, sights, smells, sounds and different people that spoke funny and made me laugh and very different food. I especially loved it when we went to Miletus as an old lady made me a special breakfast and we sat on the floor to eat and share. After breakfast and lots of tea and laughter, she gave me a gift – a Turkish eye which was for good luck. She said it was a long time since she had had so much fun and laughter and was happy that I took the time to stop and have breakfast with her.”

Click here to see a collage of Matthew’s trips around Europe on the screwball rally!

Thank you to Lucy West and the Shared Lives Scheme in West Sussex, visit their website to discover more on becoming a Shared Lives carer or using Shared Lives:
Shared Lives West Sussex Website

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