Oxfordshire Shared Lives volunteer and community stalwart honoured with MBE

A woman from Oxford, whose list of voluntary work includes helping a county council service that supports adults with additional needs, has become a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours for her services to the community.

Margaret Simpson, who’s 82, is a panel member for Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives scheme, helping to pair together caring households with adults with additional support needs, offering them a place to stay and grow their independence.Margaret Simpson MBE

She also gives significant time to organisations that support older people and those suffering the effects of sight loss, including chairing the Oxford talking newspaper for the blind, Oxtalk, for 15 years.

Margaret said: “It is an unbelievable honour, which was hard to think of as real. But it is! When the letter arrived towards the end of November, I was absolutely astonished, but you can't tell anyone!

“I never thought I would receive an MBE. To be honoured for the work I have done and continue to do within the community makes it even more special and a privilege.”

Margaret has volunteered throughout her life, including working as a trustee for My Vision Oxfordshire, supporting the county council’s trading standard’s electric blanket safety checks and is a creative ambassador for Age UK Oxfordshire.

She has been working with Shared Lives for more than 15 years. At any one time, around 100 people are supported through the programme in Oxfordshire, which gives adults with care needs some additional support in a safe, caring family home.

It forms an important part of the council’s adult social care Oxfordshire Way vision, to support people to live happy, independent lives in their own communities.

Margaret continued: “I get so much out of my role with the Shared Lives team and I’m proud to be part of such a hard working, caring and committed team.

“I would encourage anyone who’s interested in taking up a voluntary role within their community to consider being either a carer or a Shared Lives panel member. It is certainly worth finding out more and if it is for you, then give it a go!”

Shared Lives carers come from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and live in all kinds of homes. You can earn up to £500 a week by supporting someone at home and fit it around your life and work commitments.

If you think you could support an adult with additional needs, you can find out more about the programme at oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives or calling 01865 897971

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