Don't just take our word for it, here, some of our amazing Shared Lives carers tell their stories and experiences and share the journeys they have taken to help make a difference to adults needing additional support across Kirklees.

Bina and Jabar

Shared Lives Bina and Jabar welcomed Rashida into their home.

40-year-old Rashida has lived with Shared Lives carers Jabar and Bina and their six young children at their home in Kirkburton for over five years.

Jabar, Bina and their children made the decision together to become Shared Lives carers being aware that an extra person in the house could change the relationships and dynamics of the family. Following meetings with their Shared Lives officer and home visits between Rashida and the Kholi family the transition went smoothly.

Bina and Jabar say that the continued support from the team at Kirklees Council was and still is invaluable. The team offer advice, support and reassurance throughout a carers time with Shared Lives.

Choosing to be a Shared Lives carer means that Bina can support Rashida and also be at home for the family. "We are busy parents, juggling work, home and family life, but this means that I can stay at home with the family and support Rashida in her life."

Rashida visits her own family every week and they have seen her grow and develop over her time with Shared Lives. Rashida's dad said "It was initially hard seeing Rashida live with another family, but she is more independent than ever and we still get to be her parents and see her grow and develop into a beautiful, confident woman."

Rashida is involved in all aspects of the Kohli's lives from leisure activities, to parties, family meals and holidays, but she knows that she has her own space and friends that she can spend time with too.

Peter and Irene

Jerry lives with Shared Lives carers, Peter and his wife Irene.

Jerry has learning disabilities and, for the past 10 years, has worked as a full time gardener - a job he loves.

Jerry says, "I like living with Peter and Irene. It's like I am part of their family. I feel really safe with them and cared for."

"Once the kids had grown up and moved on, we had space in our home and we saw that Shared Lives were recruiting carers, we applied and have never looked back. The team at Kirklees Council were really helpful and guided us through the application process. After a few months we were matched with Jerry and, following a few initial meetings to see how well we got on, Jerry moved in and we love sharing our home and lives with him. He has grown more confident and independent over the years and he is definitely part of our family."

Peter and Irene say what you need to be a Shared Lives carer is: "A caring personality, patience and be game for a laugh as well as a spare bedroom and a home and family to share".

Miranda and Eva

Lucy lives with her Shared Lives carer Miranda and her teenage daughter Eva.

Lucy is a bubbly young woman with a learning disability, and until recently, she lived with her Shared Lives carer, Nicola. Nicola decided to retired and the team at Kirklees Council helped match Lucy to another suitable carer, making the transition much easier and less disruptive to Lucy.

Miranda applied to become a Shared Lives carer because she wanted to support and help someone within a safe and homely environment. Following Miranda's application process and several home visits from the support officers at Kirklees Council, Lucy began spending time with Miranda and Eva at their home.

At first, Lucy was worried about leaving her home in Huddersfield and moving to Dewsbury. She worried about leaving somewhere she felt comfortable and where she was friendly with people. She settled really quickly and with Miranda's assistance, expanded her network of friends in Dewsbury and still visits her pals in Huddersfield.

The two women get on really well and spend lots of time with each other doing fun activities and helping each other around the house. Miranda says "Lucy is such a people person and always has a big smile and a 'hello' to everyone she speaks to. I have a real sense of achievement knowing that I am supporting Lucy and help her live her best life."

Lucy agrees "I am able to do lots of things in and out of the house. I like that I have my own friends and can come home when I want to. Knowing that Miranda is there for me makes me feel safe and I love spending time with Eva."

Karen and Will

Rebecca, a Shared Lives service user, enjoys short breaks with Karen and Will.

Rebecca, who is partially sighted and has a learning disability, lives at home with her parents Russell and Bev and enjoys short breaks with approved Shared Lives carers Karen and Will.

Rebecca has been staying with Karen and Bill for short breaks for a number of years, and the support is not only vital for Rebecca but also for her full time carers, her parents Russell and Bev.

Following the Shared Lives application process, service user and carers were matched and visits and meetings between the families took place and a special bond grew.

It maybe that Rebecca stays over for respite care so that Mum and Dad can have a break or holiday together, or sometimes, it might be care arranged at short notice, all with support from the Shared Lives team at Kirklees Council. Both parents have no anxieties about their daughter staying away from home knowing that she is cared for in comfortable and safe surroundings.

Rebecca loves staying with the Kirk's and always looks forward to spending time with them. She is encouraged to get involved in their day-to-day lives and activities and often spends time going out for the day and taking part in arts and crafts activities.