We have welcomed Edward Bunce-Phillips to as the new Mid Team Leader.
Edward has vast experience with Shared Lives.
Not only has he grown up in a Shared Live South West household, he has also been a Shared Lives South West Carer.
Now he wears a different hat for Shared Lives as part of the staff team…
You are a Shared Lives Team Leader, but have a long history with Shared Lives- can you tell us a little about that?
I grew up in a ‘Shared Lives’ family home in Somerset because my parents started supporting people when I was about two years old. My earliest childhood memories include sharing my home, family, friends, mealtimes, Christmases, holidays, weekends and birthdays with people using Shared Lives services. When I was old enough I registered as a Support Carer to help my parents and when my partner Becky moved in she also registered.
Becky and I got our first house together and we registered as short breaks carers, which we did alongside our other employment. We enjoyed the experience of opening up our own home, sharing our active lifestyle – cooking, dog walking, chickens, bonfires and barbecues – whilst also continuing to help out my parents when needed.
Why do you think Shared Lives as a model of care works so well?
I have huge belief in the Shared Lives model because I have seen first hand the success for supported people in living natural, varied, happy and fulfilled lives. There is a freedom in a family home that is difficult to recreate in more traditional care environments. I have always felt the Shared Lives model fills this void effectively.
I proudly remember the people who shared our home and witnessing their confidence grow, watch their networks develop; both as part of our family and independently, within our wider community.
The Shared Lives model enables the right balance of freedom and security that encourages the development of the individual sense of self.
I have always described Shared Lives as the organic model of care. This is because each household and each carer-supported person relationship is unique; each has its own opportunity for successful outcomes, its own challenges and its own varied make-up. These dynamics ensure support is person-centred, because support is delivered within a unit that is naturally curated because of the acceptance and respect between all participants and the evolving nature of a family home.
What made you apply for the role as Team Leader?
Seeing the job advert felt a little bit like a touch of fate. I wasn’t actively seeking a new job but I noticed the vacancy on the SLSW Facebook page. There wasn’t much more to it. Here was my preferred model of care, one that I had been affiliated with for pretty much all my life, carried out by a CQC rated ‘Outstanding’ organisation, and a job role that met my qualifications and skills.
To be honest, I think it’s a dream job for a registered manager.
How have your first few days been?
They have been fantastic. There is a lot to read and learn but I am enjoying every minute. Everyone has been exceptionally welcoming and I am just so pleased to have joined the organisation.
What will you bring to the team?
I hope that I can bring a unique insight into the Shared Lives model: my knowledge and experiences as a Shared Lives Carer and family member combined with my skills and knowledge of being a registered manager. If I can successfully draw on the experiences of both, there will be many opportunities where I can add something new to the team. I think the starting point is being a person within the leadership team who can call upon many varied first hand experiences.
Out of work, what do you enjoy doing?
I love travel, adventure, exploring different culture, food and drink, the outdoors and nature, health and fitness, reading, socialising, friends, making people smile and laugh, the coast and sea, hills and forests, my three dogs and renovating a now less-derelict cottage- this probably isn’t always enjoyable! The last few years I have been getting into freediving/spearfishing but I’m not very good yet.
Name three things you’d take to a dessert island and why?
My Labrador Saya, my Leatherman pen-knife, a good hat and/or vast supply of 50+ suncream!
Anything else you’d like to add?
My partner Becky and I are expecting a baby in August which is a first for us!