A Shared Life is a Good Life

Lester enjoys helping out in his local community
Lester enjoys helping out in his local community

Lester loves chatting, travelling, dancing, theme parks, a night out at the local and Thunderbirds. In essence he loves life – and he wants to be a part of it. Fortunately for Lester he is living with a Shared Lives family who want him to make the most of his life too.

This means that Lester is part of a very natural network of family, extended family, friends, work colleagues and fellow volunteers. He’s lived with Maya, Patrick and their two children for 11 years and considers them some of the most important people in his life.

Lester goes on holiday with them and has notched up an enviable list of destinations including Mauritius, Germany, Holland and California. Every week Maya, Patrick and Lester go to the local pub for a relaxing evening out and once a month they all hit the dance floor at the Brixton Hootenany club night.

He is still close to his real family and enjoys spending time with his sister who lives in Brighton and his brother and his wife and their two children who live in Cornwall. “My nephews are great – when I send them birthday presents they send back notes saying Thank You Uncle Lester!”

Lester says he likes his Shared Lives carer, Maya, because “she has a great way of looking after me, keeping me clean and tidy and cooking my favourite meals”. This safe, stable, normal home life has provided Lester with the perfect base to branch out into his local community.

Maya and her family are really nice. They’ve encouraged me to get involved where we live and I now have a very busy life. I feel like part of the family. Lester

Lester likes to fill his days with purposeful activity and he is certainly making a contribution; twice a week he helps out at The Bridge – a centre for people with learning disabilities – where enjoys helping out “sweeping the floors, cleaning the windows and keeping the place tidy and nice”. He considers Barbara, Amy, Neil and the many others who work with him there to be good friends. On different days he collects money for Cancer Research outside the shop on Balham High Street.  His personal charm and willingness to engage with people has made him a hit with passers-by and a great fundraiser. “I love talking to the mums and especially the children – I like to entertain them.”

On his one free day during the week, Lester meets with Mark, another Shared Lives carer, and together they do what ever Lester feels like. His zest for life is there for all to see in his eclectic mix of outing and adventures. Recent trips have included being part of the audience on the Paul O’Grady Show – “one of my favourite programmes” and a trip to Chessington World of adventures – “I love the bumper cars”.

Shared Lives gives people with learning disabilities the opportunity of living with a Shared Lives Carer in their home, either in a long-term arrangement or on a respite basis, which may be a day, a weekend, or a few weeks at a time. Shared Lives enables people to benefit from consistent support from people who know them well and to build positive and mutually beneficial relationships. If you would like more information about becoming a Shared Lives Carer, or living with a Shared Lives family, contact us.