A partially-deaf woman from Mansfield has hailed a scheme encouraging residents to open their homes to vulnerable adults.
Nottinghamshire County Council is looking for people to become Shared Lives carers, offering long-term support or short breaks to the elderly or people with a disability or mental health issue.
I have been to many different places with Shared Lives, but meeting Jean and her family is the best I’ve doneTerri-ann Davies
At the moment, the authority has 58 households taking part in the scheme – but 20 more are needed across the county.
Terri-ann Davies, aged 27, regularly visits a farm in Everton, north Nottinghamshire, for short breaks.
Terri-ann, who lives with her parents in Mansfield, is partially deaf and has a learning disability.
Staying at Jean Bere’s farm gives her the chance to enjoy new experiences and spend time with animals.
Terri-ann said: “I have been to many different places with Shared Lives, but meeting Jean and her family is the best I’ve done.
“We do things like feed the animals and collect the eggs from the chickens in the woods and when I stay for a longer period of time, we do other things.”
Gary, her father, said: “It’s an unwinding, relaxing break for her and also gives us time to do things that we aren’t able to do when Terri-ann is around.
“We are going away to Jersey during our next break.”
Each year, Terri-ann spends 28 days with Jean, who has been a Shared Lives carer for the last three years.
Jean, who has lived on the farm in Everton for four years, said: “Being closer to nature is very therapeutic, so I wanted to share this with other people.
“I have an agricultural degree and have previously worked with people with autism in a care home, so Shared Lives seemed the perfect challenge for me and the farm.
“I get just as much out of it as Terri-ann, as it is so rewarding to see her grow in confidence and she has a great sense of humour and a lively character.
“I have enjoyed looking after two other young people as part of the scheme and I’m looking forward to having another person to stay at the farm in the coming months.”
All carers receive training and ongoing support and are paid according to the needs of the person or people who they care for.
Helen Hall, senior Shared Lives coordinator at the council, said: “You don’t have to have a farm to be a Shared Lives carer. You just need room in your home and some time to support a person with a disability or an older person and the arrangements can range from a couple of weekends a year to offering a longer-term home.”
n Visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sharedlives for more information.