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Could you share your life?

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Could you share your life?

Are you looking for a more rewarding career?

Take a tip from Kirsty and Iain Paterson, from Scremerston near Berwick who loved their jobs so much they decided to take their work home with them – and have never looked back.

Husband and wife, Kirsty and Iain, are amongst 40 people who provide a vital source of help and support to adults with a disability, mental health problem, or elderly people through the Shared Lives Northumberland service.

Shared Lives Northumberland (previously known as the Adult Placement Scheme) is delivered in partnership with Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The service which is in urgent need of new recruits, see residents around the county paid an allowance to provide short breaks, long term and emergency placements within their own homes

Kirsty and Iain have been Shared Lives carers for six years. Before becoming carers Kirsty worked in childcare and as a rehab worker, and Iain worked in the building trade. As Ian readily admits; “I really didn’t think I could do it, look after someone and live with them. But the training is fantastic and the support from the Shared Lives managers really makes all the difference.”

They got started as many do offering short term respite care. Within the first year of being involved Kirsty decided she loved caring in her own home so much she wanted to provide full-time care.

Kimberley, 25 and Suzanne, 58 both of whom have learning disabilities live with Iain and Kirsty on a full-time basis. They came to live with the Paterson’s on short respite breaks and both quite literally fell in love with the lifestyles they experienced living in Scremerston. Kirsty and Iain also provide short-term respite care.

“We’ve got a great bunch who come to us for their holidays through Shared Lives and they really join in with the family, and Suzanne and Kimberely are like daughters to me” said Kirsty.

But as Kirsty says, it’s a big commitment, “You’ve got to talk to the rest of the family before you get involved. To make it work you’ve also got to get to know the people you’ll be caring for, get to know their ways and let them get to know yours”. 

For more information about Shared Lives Northumberland call 01670 536 400 or visit