My colleague Babs Lewis, who leads our work in Wales, writes:
Vernon, who will soon be celebrating his 73rd birthday, lives an active life in the community with support from Margaret and her partner Eddie, with whom he’s lived for 16 years. He works in his local supermarket for a few hours a week, and gets out and about regularly thanks to his free bus pass. Vernon was taken into care aged just two and was looked after by Nuns in Swansea until the late 1990s, when he moved to a residential home. The move didn’t suit him at all and he didn’t thrive there, so Swansea social services suggested Shared Lives.
Vernon met Welsh Assembly Shadow Social Service Spokesperson, Suzy Davies, over coffee and told her all about Shared Lives and what the service meant to him. They also shared reminiscences of their shared home town and talked about all the changes they’ve seen over the years in Swansea.
Margaret along with her partner Eddie have been Shared Lives carers for around 18 years now, supporting Vernon since 2001. Margaret had worked as an Auxiliary Nurse before moving to Swansea and becoming a Shared Lives carer. Along with Vernon, she’s also provided long-term support and short-breaks to other people who need just a little help to stay independent and active. The visit was organised as part of Wales Shared Lives Development Team’s work connecting Shared Lives carers and the people they support to local politicians. The aim is to make sure politicians see first-hand the great work Shared Lives is doing in their constituency.