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James’s Story

Before finding Shared Lives, James lived in a supported living setting. James is someone who values his independence and who enjoys the outdoors.

Before finding Shared Lives, James lived in a supported living setting. James is someone who values his independence and who enjoys the outdoors. James found that neither of these values were being enjoyed in the supported living setting. He did not have a good relationship with his staff team and there were too many changes in who supported him, which meant little consistency for him.

James raised this issue with his support provider, and after being unsatisfied with the follow up actions, he made the decision to leave, and move back with his parents so that he could assess what he wanted from his life, and make his own positive choices.

He carried out his own research with his parents’ help, and this is when he discovered Shared Lives; he felt this would offer him all he was hoping from a support placement.

A placement was identified at Danby Village (Avalon’s Botton scheme) and James moved to Homefield, which is a Shared Lives household that is also a working farm with vegetable growing, and which prioritises living a sustainable life.

James met the carers and voiced his own passion for the outdoors. He heard about the plan to develop 5 acres of land for new produce growing initiatives, and he was thrilled by the idea. James decided to move to Homefield as a longer term arrangement.

James has taken a real lead since moving to Homefield, and through the connections he has made at Danby village, has made more and more choices to work in new areas, and find rewarding vocations:

  • James is a lead grower, responsible for fields of vegetables, fruits and herbs.
  • He has also secured a position at the local bakery, making bread and arranging deliveries; James also manages the bakery email account and responds to all the positive feedback they get about the quality of their bread
  • James is the main point of contact for visitors to Homefield, and delivers tours of the land, explaining how the area was developed and about the various produce they grow (this includes local commissioners, Trustees and local authority representatives)
  • More recently, James has volunteered to join a team on a large scale tree planting project, whose aim is to conserve the local landscape for the future

James often states how much he loves living at Homefield and being involved in the work he does and that he really enjoys life.

James has come a very long way since his unhappy days in a support environment that was not right for him. He has chosen his path and had the courage to speak up and drive the change to get him where he is today. James is always so encouraging to others to make a change if they are unhappy, to speak up and make things happen, and is a great advocate for how Shared Lives, and meaningful work, can transform a person for the better.

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