AN AWARD-WINNING Oxfordshire couple have been praised for their dedication to helping to improve the lives of people who have a disability.

For the past 10 years, couple Patricia and Brian Day have been among a network of people who have opened their homes to individuals who need practical and emotional support within the community as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives Scheme. Now, they are encouraging others to to consider whether they could do the same.

The couple offer respite care at their home in Shrivenham, where they’ve been dedicating their time to others for the past 10 years, after many more years working in the care sector.

Ms Day said: “We decided to join Shared Lives after working many years in the care sector. A friend who was already working for them encouraged us to look into it.

“Shared Lives is such a unique job; it enables people with so many different needs to live in a family environment. We all live together and support each other through the good and the challenging times. It’s not always plain sailing but equally it is just as rewarding."

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The couples' dedication and work with the scheme saw them rewarded at the recent Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers awards, winning the Josie Award, which celebrates those who make an exceptional difference to dignity in care.

Shared Lives is funded by the county council and part of the council’s commitment to thriving communities – helping people to live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community. It has been running for more than 40 years and involves those in need of care sharing the home of Oxfordshire residents who have been trained and approved as ‘shared lives households’.

There are currently 80 Shared Lives carers providing a home to about 120 adults in the county. They provide anything from occasional short breaks or daytime support through to a longer-term, full-time arrangement.

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Sally Ellis, Shared Lives Scheme manager at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I couldn’t think of a couple more deserving of the award than Patricia and Brian. They are so dedicated to the Shared Lives community and have made such a difference to so many lives over the years.

“Our Shared Lives team is always on the lookout for more people like Patricia and Brian. If you have a spare room to offer and would like to play a part in making a difference to someone’s life, then we really want to hear from you. Some people live together for years; others may just share an occasional weekend together."