We all know the value of being close to the people we love. That feeling of belonging, of being loved, and of being useful make for a good life. The measures we’ve all had to take to keep ourselves and those around us safe during the pandemic have made being close to people really difficult.
But while we’ve seen isolation become a bigger and bigger problem for lots of people who need support, the people involved in Shared Lives and Homeshare have been a bright spot in an otherwise dark year. They have been there for others, keeping people connected and even finding ways to have fun and discover new talents, like Ivor and Peter in Shared Lives South West who have become accomplished painters:
Sharon and David Shearing responded to lockdown by going the extra mile to make sure the people they support are still active, leading rich and fulfilling lives with activities tailored to them. This was the moment the Shearings found out they’d been highly commended in our Shared Lives carer of the year award!
In Homeshare, we’ve seen how having somebody at home with you can make a vital difference to people’s experience of lockdown. Indeed, some matches have been living it up through the pandemic!
Many of you have been getting into the Christmas spirit, like Shared Lives Hertfordshire who played a fancy dress Christmas bingo!
While Gillian and Chanroth, who live with Shared Lives carer Tracey, have been getting in the festive mood by decorating their family Christmas tree:
Homeshare and Shared Lives are based on the security of a welcoming home environment and good relationships, and it is increasingly looking as though home is one of the safest places to be at the moment – especially if you share that home with someone who’s looking out for you.
We know our members have been working even harder, for even longer, than usual. A large majority of local areas have provided extra support and reimbursement for Shared Lives carers during the pandemic, but we are working hard with Shared Lives carers, scheme workers and councils, to make things easier.
This means getting day support services re-started, reimbursement for increased costs and ensuring Shared Lives carers can get help and advice when they need it. Our local campaigning has resulted in pay increases and financial support for Shared Lives carers in a number of areas now. Our Homeshare team have been working hard with Homeshare organisations to help them face the new challenges at a time when we need inter-generational support more than ever.
Despite everything, we’ve seen Shared Lives and Homeshare grow in the past year and we’ve got some new projects on the way, including online Shared Lives carer recruitment, a new form of peer support for families who are under pressure, and more support for survivors of domestic abuse. 2021 looks like it will start with a desperately tough few months at least, but we will be doing everything we can to bring heart, home and hope to as many people as we can.
Wishing you all a safe and peaceful Christmas.