Christmas for many is a time to take a break from the stresses of working life, but the working clock doesn’t stop for everyone.
Shared Lives providers work every day of the year, bringing home life and new experiences to the people they support, and some really go the extra mile to sprinkle Christmas magic.
Take Nigel and Lewis Hooper for example from Leigh Sinton.
The driveway to their farm is a magical wonderland inside and out, with decorations and lights as far as the eye can see.
The three Individuals who are placed there, Shirley, Darren and Stephen love it and are very much part of family life and the community around them.
Christmas truly does come to town, and even the animals get into the Christmas spirit.
They have all written to Father Christmas, it's important to get the letters in early.
Nigel reports that one Christmas, their reindeer Rudolph and Prancer disappeared and unbelievably they then reappeared on Christmas morning – they were so tired they slept all day and were off their food!!
Nigel had reported them missing, the police came to do a welfare check.
The Hooper family like every family have their own Christmas traditions, and like many, they like to visit the local pub on Christmas Eve. Stephen enjoys a lager shandy or raspberry J20, Darren has bitter shandy, Shirley likes a coke, nibbles and crisps.
On Christmas Eve, Father Christmas is left a can of beer; there no mince pies in case he gets stuck down the chimney…… they also leave him chocolate and sweeties to give him strength.
Christmas Day morning is always full of excitement as everyone opens their presents, then a visit to their local pub, where the 3 Individuals are all warmly welcomed as part of the village community, followed by Christmas lunch.
On Boxing Day, they all go to the hunt meet, visiting the pub once again.
The farm is a working farm and everyone is looking forward to new calves being born in February.
Stephen also has chickens, Nigel took him to purchase them and Stephen proudly feeds and looks after the chickens and collects the eggs.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care said: “Nigel and Lewis’ Christmas traditions are a really lovely example of the positive experiences a Shared Lives placement can give adults with care and support needs. Shared Lives is just one of the schemes that we have across the county to support individuals to gain their independence and develop their life skills.”