Could you help someone get their life back together?

From left, Knowsley Councils Head of Adult Social Care Julie Moss, Cllr Steph OKeeffe and Lisa Daley and Kathy Lea from the Shared Lives team
From left, Knowsley Councils Head of Adult Social Care Julie Moss, Cllr Steph OKeeffe and Lisa Daley and Kathy Lea from the Shared Lives team

Could you share your home to change someone’s life? That’s the question the team from Knowsley’s Shared Lives service asked visitors to Knowsley Flower Show last weekend.

The scheme, which recruits carers to provide home-based care for disabled adults and older people needing support, launched its latest recruitment campaign at the show – urging visitors to their stall to get involved.

They were joined by Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Coun Steff O’Keeffe who helped launch the service’s new, eye-catching branding and talk about the importance of the service.

She explained that there are lots of ways people can get involved with the Shared Lives scheme. They can offer a permanent home to someone, or short break support to give permanent carers a break.

Recruits will receive payment, extensive training and 24/7 support.

Both families and individuals of any age can get involved with Shared Lives - which offers a great opportunity for anyone seeking a new challenge, or maybe approaching retirement.

Coun O’Keeffe said: “For many adults placed with carers, this will be their first experience of being part of a loving family, and having the independence to live a fulfilling life in their local community.”

Kay Ramsay, 70, from Kirkby, has been a Shared Lives carer for 28 years and a permanent carer for Gary Capaldi since he joined her family in 1988. “He has been part of our lives for 28 years and our family would not be complete without him.”

Things weren’t always this settled for Gary, 51, who spent his childhood in a hospital for children with special needs and was facing a life in residential care.

He befriended Kay’s daughter Nicola at a club for young people with special needs and soon became a frequent visitor at Kay’s home.

Kay added: “Gary said he’d like to live with a family and within a year he moved in permanently with us. In recent years I’ve been a single carer and the support I’ve received from the Shared Lives scheme has been fantastic. Gary and Nicola also have respite carers, so I can have a break as well.”

And to anyone considering becoming a Shared Lives carer Kay commented: “You get to meet lots of new people and we have a great time. It’s very rewarding knowing that you’ve made a difference to someone’s life. Just pick up the phone – you won’t regret it!”

If you’re interested in getting involved in Shared Lives, contact 0151 443 2060.