Australia Minister visits Shared Lives

Australian Minister visits Shared Lives

Australian Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, visited the Shared Lives Service and Certitude at our Balham offices. Shared Lives services are currently not being offered in Australia. The Minister, who was in London to attend the Paralympics Games, contacted the national umbrella organisation Shared Lives Plus to learn more about the scheme.  Certitude – which is part of Shared Lives Plus network – offered to organise a coffee morning with people we support and their carers to get a flavour of the service and how it works.

Jenny Macklin and her staff were welcomed by Certitude Chief Executive Aisling Duffy and Learning Disabilities Director Janette Gaffney. The carers highlighted the importance of the extensive training they continually receive, the peer mentoring and the support given by the staff team. People supported within the scheme mentioned their involvement in the recruitment process and how they feel empowered by always having choice and being an increasingly active part of the local community.  Staff clarified the process of becoming a carer and how we work on referrals, and matching people and carers in a person centred way.

Aisling Duffy seized the opportunity to introduce another innovative service to the Australian Minister: My Breaks – supported holidays and socialising opportunities for people and their carers as an alternative to traditional residential respite.

The Minister and her team were inspired by the good stories told by the people who experience Shared Lives. They intend to visit us again in future as they plan to implement new models for adult social care in their country.

The coffee morning took place at Lumière Court, in the board room recently named the Churchill room, where a quote from Churchill painted on the wall reads:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

A quote in tune with a very special occasion.