Denis and Linda are Carers who support a young man named Ben, who is on the autistic spectrum, through the provision of Shared Lives.
The couple, who also have children of their own, have looked after Ben within their home since he was a baby – providing foster care up to the age of 18, following which they wanted to ensure Ben could remain in the family environment they had created for him.
To do this Denis and Linda became Shared Lives Carers with The Avalon Group. Shared Lives offers adults with a wide range of disabilities and mental health issues the chance to become part of an extended family by living in the home of a trained carer.
For Ben it means the ability to live a fulfilled life surrounded by all the things he loves and all the things he needs. Even the detached bungalow in which the family lives, was purchased to allow Ben to play music and sing as loud as he likes!
He is also a valued, active member of the community, playing drums and singing at his local church alongside Denis who plays trumpet and Linda who plays guitar, and has a great passion for baking and art.
This is made possible by a life lived alongside people who care for him in the same way any family would. Denis and Linda have provided a home and a level of support that means he has flourished in ways which a residential care setting may not have been able to achieve.
Linda said: "The only way support can be this good, is for it to happen in a family setting, within a strong family unit.”
Denis added “It’s so rewarding to do what we’re doing with Ben. It’s got to be better than just building another residential home and hoping for results.
"Avalon have been a really great help to us, delivering excellent quality training with commitment and dedication. Shared Lives really has to be the way forward."
Click HERE to find out about how to become a Shared Lives Carer.