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Amanda, Kath, & John

This year we are celebrating with Amanda, Kath, and John as they mark two decades of Shared Lives with Ategi. John and Kath's journey into Shared Lives was a deliberate choice after their experience with fostering children. Their shift to Shared Lives through Ategi was prompted by a desire to provide support to individuals transitioning from institutions like Ely Hospital.
Kath & John with Amanda and her dog Bella

"We used to foster children through Barnados, but we got to a certain age, and we found we no longer had the energy for children. But then we found Shared Lives and it just made sense"

John (Shared Lives Carer)

Amanda and her dog Bella

Before being supported by Ategi Amanda tragically lost several members of her immediate family. During a very turbulent period for Amanda, she found herself rotating between her two sisters' homes, but this arrangement quickly became unsustainable. Recognising this, Amanda's sisters sought help from a social worker who, in turn, approached Ategi about the Shared Lives scheme.

Having some prior experience with Shared Lives, thanks to hosting another individual before Amanda, John and Kath received Amanda's profile. Initially daunted by the level of care Amanda seemed to require, they decided to meet her anyway, thanks to encouragement from the Shared Lives manager at the time. When Amanda visited their home on November 5th, 2003, it was an instant connection. After Amanda's recent losses, she craved a welcoming family. Kath and John welcomed her officially into their home on January 19th, following their son moving away from home to Sandhurst.

"Once we met, there was an instant warming. There was a feeling of; we can do this”

Kath (Shared Lives Carer)

From the moment Amanda entered their lives, Kath and John knew she was meant to be a part of their family. Reflecting on Amanda's growth, Kath highlighted how Amanda transformed into a confident, mature woman within a very short time being with them. Amanda shared he expertise in British Sign Language (BSL) which helped bridge any communication barriers, forming a deep bond of understanding and trust between the three of them. Amanda now has an extremely active lifestyle undertaking many hobbies including pottery-making swimming and horse riding.

On Sunday Amanda, Kath and John visit Church together, their faith is very important to all of them and helps unify them further. The church they attend offers a welcoming environment for Amanda in their religious community. Amanda's engagement in church activities and her friendships further enrich her life. So much so that for her 50th Birthday she invited many of her church friends to her party. Amanda's milestone birthdays have been cherished by the whole family, not only Amanda’s family but John and Kath’s family too.
Amanda enjoying crafts and writing

"I studied BSL years ago, but like any language, if you don't keep it up, you lose it, so I learned from Amanda. Amanda taught me, and that's how we communicate"

Kath (Shared Lives Carer)

Amanda's Shared Lives journey has not been without challenges. Initially, due to the loss of her family members, she experienced trauma and regular nightmares. However, Amanda found solace and security with Kath and John. And after a few years, she blossomed into her true self. The rewarding aspect, as Kath emphasised, lies in witnessing Amanda's transformation and knowing they've provided her with a loving and fulfilling life.

For those considering Shared Lives, Kath and John offer valuable insights rooted in patience, humour, and a genuine capacity to care. Their journey underscores the importance of Ategi's support, providing a safety net and guidance for both carers and individuals wishing to live a more independent life.  

Amanda, Kath, and John’s story serves as an inspiring reminder of the uniqueness and of Shared Lives and how it can enrich lives. 

"It was hard for her to lose her family so suddenly. She just needed a few years of reassurance that she was safe, she was loved, she was cared for and that this was now her home. And, well, she's a star now. She's totally at home and very comfortable"

Kath (Shared Lives Carer)

Do you want to find out more about our services?

Could you become a support worker for Ategi?

Speak with one of the team today!

01443 484 400