Shropshire Council

Matthew and Sheila's story

Making the positive step into a shared home life.

I had heard good things about the Shared Lives experience and so I wanted to find out more. In November 2017 I sat down with Matthew and Sheila and asked them about their own personal Shared Lives experiences. We sat round the table and chatted with cups of tea in our hands while munching on chocolate cookies.

Matthew’s massive grin immediately gave the story away. He’s happy sharing a new home with Tim and Mandy and there’s no hiding it.

Sheila is happy too and she’s settled at home. She’s been living with Denise and Steve for 5 years. In front of her sits an award that she recently won for ‘Slimmer of the year’ (through Slimming World). She has succeeded in losing 6 stone and so, successfully, pushed borderline diabetes from her life. Sheila is now into healthy eating and she regularly attends the gym. It was actually at this point that I had to apologise because I was the one who had brought the cookies along.

For Matthew Shared Lives means life is “peaceful and calmer”. He has also developed ways of managing previous upsets in his life. For Sheila, her days are full of “laughing and joking”. Both have plans for the future.

Matthew would like to develop his independence and also act. He does his own clothes shopping now and he’s also started to cook. He’s an integral part of his local community and he’s developing his acting skills through the group “Arty Party”.

Sheila aims to maintain her healthy target weight and the friendships that she has developed through Slimming World. She too enjoys going out to shop, with a new found love of clothes shopping.

Both Sheila and Matthew are now living interesting, positive and what I might call ‘ordinary’ lives. The kind of satisfying and enjoyable lives that the majority of people want to live. We finish laughing as I ask them to comment on Diane (Registered Manager with Positive Steps Shropshire Limited) . Both agree, she’s a “good person to work with!”.

I leave the last words to Diane who tells me about Shared Lives and the exciting work they do matching someone who has care and support needs with a family home. None of this is done lightly. The commitment from both sides is fantastic. But when the match is right Shared Lives helps to create homes, friendships and communities. The smile on Matthews face tells the whole story.

To find out more about Shared Lives and Positive Steps, Shropshire, contact Diane Phillips on 01743 251568