A COUPLE who have spent the last 25 years supporting others have vowed to continue to help out after receiving an award for their long service.

Sue and Tim Clayton have welcomed more than 40 adults in need of care to their farm near Wallingford since 1994.

Despite retiring from duties on their 25-acre site, the duo remain as dedicated as ever to Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives scheme and fully intend to keep opening their home to those with a variety of needs.

Oxford Mail:

They were nominated for the the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers award by Becky Lee, the social worker who captured the hearts of TV viewers after twice appearing on Channel 4’s First Dates.

Ms Lee has worked with the couple since 2016 and was overjoyed when they scooped the award earlier this year.

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She said: “All of our Shared Lives Carers are incredible in what they do. But the thing that made Sue and Tim stand out is the longevity of the service they’ve provided, which is a huge amount of years.

“They provide a really unique household and everyone I know who has come here has really flourished. Work like that needs to be recognised and it’s happening all over the county.”

Mrs Clayton, 77, had previously run a bed and breakfast at the farmhouse but chose to make a different use of the rooms after spotting an advert.

She said: “We used to attract a lot of Americans because it’s only an hour’s drive from Heathrow. But then the Dollar and the Pound changed places and the Americans stopped coming and I had all these rooms available.

“I saw a little advert in the shop window for a scheme which back then was called Adult Family Placement.

“It was a bit of an eye-opener to start with because my children were just leaving teenagerhood and becoming adults. All of a sudden it was like having a teenager on my hands again.

“We did a certain amount of respite to begin with and it was very rewarding. I’ve developed skills that I never even knew existed.”

Since then the couple has supported adults with a wide range of adult social care needs.

They have been encouraged to help in the garden, care for the chickens, muck out the horses and paint some of the outbuildings.

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Mrs Clayton added: “I’ve always felt that with Shared Lives, particularly when you’ve got young ones moving into the scheme, they can all benefit from being encouraged to be more independent.

“It’s so rewarding to see how people grow and blossom, becoming more confident in themselves and the world and being able to do things they never thought they’d be able to do.”

Shared Lives Carers provide anything from occasional short breaks or daytime support through to a longer-term, full-time arrangement.

There are currently 80 carers providing a home for about 120 adults in the county and the Shared Lives team is keen to recruit more as it celebrates Shared Lives Week this week.

All carers receive ongoing support and training from social workers and could be paid around £400 per week for each person they support.