CARERS who look after vulnerable adults across the conurbation are being celebrated as part of a national campaign.

Shared Lives Week, running June 24 to 28, is a national campaign to recognise and celebrate the amazing work of Shared Lives carers.

The Shared Lives scheme is offered by BCP Council to help adults with care and support needs on a long or short-term basis.

Julie Fellows, Shared Lives manager at BCP Council, said: "Shared lives carers support the needs of vulnerable adults in a supportive home setting where they can become part of the household and community.

“We would encourage anyone considering becoming a carer, or who would like to find out more, to contact our Shared Lives team.

“We can offer new carers training, support and regular updates to ensure they are comfortable and confident in their responsibilities.”

Emma Jones is a Shared Lives carer who lives in Bournemouth and has been looking after Jake full-time for five years.

She said: "Shared Lives is a bit like fostering, but for vulnerable adults. I’ve been a Shared Lives carer for seven years, and my experience has been extremely positive.

“I gave respite to other families who needed a break which was a pleasure for me, and I was then matched with Jake five years ago, who lives with me full-time.

"We are a very good match, and he has progressed so much in the last five years, and that’s down to the Shared Lives scheme.”

Jake is 30 years old and has a learning disability. He has been supported by Emma on the Shared Lives scheme for five years.

He said: “Shared Lives has changed my life positively and dramatically – I went from a low place to right up where I am now in the space of five years. I’ve got two voluntary jobs, which I didn’t have before, and a great social life.

"My diet has improved, and I have lost 4.5 stone. I also won an award for my achievements through the national Shared Lives scheme – when I got nominated, I cried.

"It made me feel so proud of what I’ve achieved since being part of Shared Lives.”