CHESHIRE West and Chester Council needs caring people to join its Cheshire West Shared Lives service.

Members of the Shared Lives team open up their homes to provide support to adults with learning difficulties or the elderly. Volunteers are trained and paid for their time.

Shared Lives workers come from a variety of backgrounds. Placements can be for the day, a short break or longer term.

Whatever time you have available can be matched up with someone who will value your support.

Some Shared Lives workers like the chance to work with a few people, offering short breaks or sessions. Other Shared Lives workers prefer the continuity of working with just one person.

The council’s executive member for adult social care and health, Councillor Brenda Dowding, said: “Whether it is a short break or a long-term placement, Shared Lives is about leading your ordinary life and giving another person the chance to be included in what you do.

“From walking the dog, going to the cinema to going on holiday, it’s all about building a relationship between you and the person you are caring for.

“To become a Shared Lives carer you don't need to be a specially trained expert, you just need to care.”

Kath from Chester, who has been a member of the Shared Lives team for 13 years, said: “I think Shared Lives provides a very valuable service. It’s important to be able to offer some people a home from home.

“For many people, walking into a large day care centre could be overwhelming and I feel I can make a real difference to people’s lives by opening up my home to them. It’s very rewarding.

“I enjoy organising the day to suit each of my groups,” she said. “My Tuesday group enjoy crosswords and dominoes, whereas my Wednesday group enjoy a good game of bingo.”

Kath, from Ellesmere Port, who has worked for the service for 14 years, added: “I originally worked in a day centre for nine years and then decided to join Shared Lives as I could work from my own home.

“I provide long-term 24/7 support to Richard as well as respite care for two other ladies. I really enjoy the company and I would recommend the service to anyone.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Shared Lives worker, call the Cheshire West Shared Lives team for an informal chat on 0151 337 4581, or email: