A selfless farmer and her mum want to encourage more people to help those in need after being recognised as a pair of unsung heroes.
Lindsay Howard-Dean and her mum Rosemary share their Christmas Common home, in the Chilterns, with people who require extra daily care.
One of them, Mark, has a mild learning disability while Claire, who has cerebral palsy and a learning disability, moved in when her mother passed away.
Lindsay, 35, known as Lins, is one of around 80 carers who accommodate and look after people with care needs in their own home, as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives scheme.
Both Lins and Rosemary were recently highly commended for their work at the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers annual awards.
Lins, who home schools her son Orson, gets Claire up and breakfasted in the morning and helps Mark plan his day.
The latter has an active social life ands need help organising his timings and transport. He also requires emotional support.
Claire, who attends day services, spends time with the family on the farm and enjoys the company of the animals, including the sheep, cows, horses and donkeys.
Lins, whose husband Tim works as an engineer in Witney, said: “Both Mark and Claire need support and a happy place to live, they are part of our family at our farm in Christmas Common.
“Mark and Claire are effectively an extra uncle and aunt for Orson.”
Lins has been part of the county council’s Shared Lives scheme for more than a decade. Rosemary, who still helps out even though she’s retired, was a shared lives carer for 20 years.
“I’m sure there are people out there who’d be interested in Shared Lives if only they knew more,” Lins said.
“It is very much a vocation. It gives you a bigger family. I’ve grown up with Claire and Mark and they are part of our family.
“It enriches our lives too – I’d strongly recommend it.”
Visit oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives or call 01865 897971 for more information about becoming a Shared Lives carer.