Chat Real Lives

Sharing lives to transform lives

Rebecca and Karen

Karen and Rebecca’s Story

Rebecca is remarkable! She’s faced challenges to make big changes in her life!

A year ago, Rebecca was 17 stone, 3 to 1 in the community on high medication, no friends, unable to communicate or read or write and was very unhappy.  In December 2017 Rebecca joined a family through Shared Lives South West and in a year has made great progress living with her carer Karen Kelly-Markwick in Torbay, Devon.

“Even though I have taught young people with Specialist Educational needs for the past 20 years, this past year with Rebecca has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Karen.

“Rebecca is beaming with confidence and pride and now has a boyfriend.”

In 2014,  Karen became a carer with the organisation and opened her own family home to people with support needs.  For the first three years, she provided much needed respite breaks for 2 or 3 young people with learning disabilities and other conditions.

Then just over a year ago, Karen was matched with Rebecca, who moved in. She initially went to Karen’s home for a ten day respite break and liked it so much with Karen and her family that she asked to live with her.

SLSW provides long term and short breaks for people with support needs with its 250 carers opening their own family homes to those needing the care- It’s like adult fostering.

With Karen’s guidance and support Rebecca has lost five stone, walks the dog independently is having weekly swimming lessons and is living a healthier lifestyle all round.

She has done so well to learn new skills and is having Speech and Language improvement sessions each week as well as having reading lessons each Saturday.
With more confidence, Rebecca is now enjoying work experience at Crealy Animal Farm.

The change in her is remarkable, she goes to Phab Club and CLIP so she has a social circle and Karen is proud to say Rebecca is completing her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

She is also a lot more independent and can now catch the bus independently.
Thanks to Karen’s support she has also reduced her medication and by March this year should be completely off them.

She has learnt to cook, change her own bedding, go shopping, do the cleaning, is now doing well with personal hygiene and can get her own money from an ATM machine.

It doesn’t stop there as she has also mastered how to uses mobile phone and tablet as well as Alexa voice recognition thanks to Karen being there to help and guide her.

She is also attending a specialist college five days a week where the focus is on functional skills, communication, employ-ability skills, healthy living and in dependency skills. Her learning goes hand in hand with what Karen is reinforcing and teaching her at home.

“I have given a young girl her life back that is not numbed my medication,” said Karen proudly.

“She has done so well learning to read and write and she can catch the bus independently.

“She also loves walking my best friend,  Max the dog.”

Thanks to Rebecca being settled and her confidence blooming, Karen has helped to support her to reconnected with her family, including her twin.



Email Newsletter