Shared lives, shared rewards Donna and Dave are a married couple from Hawick who have newly started their role as Shared Lives Carers. Before becoming Shared Lives Carers Donna worked in the knitwear factory, Scott & Charters, where Dave still works full time. They both greatly enjoy their new role, as Donna explained in a recent interview; “I love my life right now. I’ve never been as happy in what I’m doing. Everyone is commenting on how different and happier I look.” There were several elements to the Shared Lives application, which Donna and Dave completed in 2020, including building family trees and compiling career histories. This process normally takes around six months but for Donna and Dave it took a little longer because of COVID and only being able to attend meetings virtually. “But the matching process ended up giving us the perfect match.” Dave noted, explaining the wait was worth it when they were approved in April 2021 and finally matched to a young adult, R, in October. “They’ve matched her that well you could almost say she is like our daughter.” Donna added, “She’s just fitted in. I can’t explain but it’s like she’s been here forever.” Opening up their home to a young adult who they support has been incredibly rewarding to Donna and Dave as they have been able to make a difference to R’s life, through their encouragement and guidance. Donna shared; “When the young person we support was chatting to her friends and referred to our home as her home, I was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling the whole day.” Dave who was initially unsure about being a carer voiced how much he has enjoyed having R in the house. “What surprised me was how much she’s fitted in. How the matching process has got it so right. It just feels like she’s always been here. The matching process has been absolutely brilliant.” Every supported person will have different needs, and Donna gave an example of some of the ways she supports R. “It’s things like reminding her to brush her teeth, put her deodorant on, sometimes she’ll have a shower and not clean her fingernails.” “She’s goes to a youth centre after college some evenings. I’ve let her walk to the bus stop a few times when it’s light so she knows the route. But when it’s dark I’ll always come get her. She had that support before and I felt it was important she didn’t lose that bit of her independence.” To anyone considering becoming a Shared Lives Carer Donna would highly recommend it. “Do it! If you have the heart to care for somebody and it’s what you really want to do then do it!. Yeah it’s challenging at times but if that’s what your heart wants, then do it. It’s more rewarding than challenging.” Dave also shared his love for the role, “it’s one of the best things that we’ve done” To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer like Donna and Dave you can contact the team at [email protected] To read more stories like Donna and Dave's you can go here.