What does family mean to you?

15 May 2018

Today is International Day of Families and we are celebrating by looking at a family from Central Bedfordshire who are part of our alternative home care scheme, Shared Lives.

Shared Lives allows people to provide support and friendship from their own homes for adults with learning disabilities. Used by 12,000 people in the UK, the scheme allows people with a disability the opportunity to become part of a family, building lasting relationships and independent skills.

Daryl, Jann and Richard

Before living with his Shared Lives carers Jann and Richard, 25 year old Daryl was very vulnerable in the community and had trouble managing not only his finances, but also his time. Living with autism and a learning disability, Daryl wasn’t able to hold down a job following the completion of his college catering course and his parents struggled to provide the support he needed.

Aware things needed to change; Daryl chose to live in a Shared Lives arrangement. Since moving in with Jann and Richard three years ago, Daryl has come to be a part of Jann and Richard’s family and continues to flourish. Whilst he still needs support with finances, he independently volunteers with the National Autistic Society, managing the till in their shop. Daryl is encouraged to pursue activities he enjoys, one of which includes volunteering with his local church youth group.

Whilst Daryl still sees his parents regularly, he has not only found confidence, independence and stability living with Jann and Richard, but also a home.

Daryl’s thoughts on his Shared Lives family:

“It’s fun and gets you out of your comfort zone. It’s about maintaining your independence, but having support when you need it. If I hadn’t have come here, my life would be very unsettled and I felt I couldn’t speak to anyone where I was, now I always have someone around when I need it.”

Richard, Daryl’s carer said:

“Daryl has been wonderful, it’s nice to have a youngster about and I even learned to like football! He fits in very well.”

For Daryl, his Shared Lives family means he can experience firm friendships, face challenges and be part of a community.

Interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer?

If you have a spare room in your house and your heart, why not become a Shared Lives carer? You could change someone’s life.

MacIntyre runs Shared Lives programmes in Central Bedfordshire, Essex and Warrington. To find out more please visit our website.


For more information on Shared Lives in Central Bedfordshire:

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