William and Mandy Fitzaden-Gray have recently been approved as Shared Lives providers by Adults Supporting Adults (ASA), to offer Respite and Short Breaks for people with disabilities and mental illness from their own home at Rose Cottage in Kirkby-on-Bain.
William 51, recalls ‘I found out about ASA and the services they provide through my position as a District Councillor and later more so in my work with Penderels Trust. I was drawn towards the role as I had been a family carer, so personally recognise the need for the right support and my portfolio as a Councillor involves providing services for vulnerable adults. After a discussion with my wife, we made contact with ASA and so began a very lengthy but thorough assessment of our suitability to become providers. ASA are extremely professional in their approach, which is re-assuring given the nature of their work in approving and supervising such arrangements. The training provided was interesting as it focused on professional boundaries and support networks amongst other things. At the end of the process, we were invited to meet an Independent Panel that approved us as Providers. It was a little bit daunting but it was good to know that they wanted to find out who we were and our motivation for taking on the role.’
Mandy 48, asserts ‘we felt really involved during the assessment process and I would encourage anyone considering such a role to give ASA a call. It’s so rewarding and I can say that after our first respite arrangement recently, it was far more than we expected. We now realise that there has to be compromises as providing respite has to fit around our family life and running the B&B here at Rose Cottage. An earlier introductory visit for afternoon tea ensured that ASA had made the right match and that we could meet the needs of the client when they came to stay for the weekend. Opening up our home is very much a two way process, yes, we are providing different opportunities to the client in a safe and stimulating family environment, but we take great enjoyment from the interactions that take place. It’s chance for us and our young son to look beyond the disability and see the person for who they are. We have always been greatly involved with the local community in one way or another and providing this level of support make us both feel very privileged.’
Operations Manager, Dean Barnshaw, adds ‘ASA have been providing social care support within the community for 25 years now and close to 80 clients benefit from such long term and respite/short breaks arrangements throughout the whole of Lincolnshire. Across the UK, there are approximately 12,000 Shared Lives arrangements and it continues to grow year on year as local authorities look for viable alternatives to residential and hospital care. There is a real need to develop the service county-wide so we can offer greater choice and people can choose to stay closer to home and in their own neighbourhoods. William and Mandy are the first of a number of new providers that are being approved this year and we value their commitment to the service, for which you are remunerated. If you are interested in becoming a Shared Lives Provider then please call ASA on 01529 416270 or visit our website at: www.asaorg.co.uk