Sometimes, the phrase brotherly love can be stretched to breaking point.
Not when it comes to Ken and Simon Leggett.
The pair, who live in Foundry Street, Horncastle, really are brothers in alms.
Spend a few minutes in their company and it is obvious they get on well.
That strong bond is a definite bonus because Ken, aged 67, is Simon’s full time carer.
Simon, aged 44, has learning difficulties and although he enjoys as full a life as possible, he relies on Ken 24/7.
Such a commitment can lead to pressures in any relationship.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the shape of the Adults Assisting Adults (ASA) organisation.
Supported by Lincolnshire County Council, ASA provides the opportunity for family’s in a similar situation to Ken and Simon to take a break from each other.
In Simon’s case, he goes to stay with an approved care ‘provider’ in Skegness.
Simon loves the seaside. He’s become something of an expert at rowing and mini-golf.
And, free from the responsibilities of looking after his younger brother, Ken can relax.
Ken said: “I’ve been Simon’s full-time carer for 10 years – since we lost mum.
“She used to look after him but when she became ill, I took over.
“It is full on, seven days a week. It is a responsibility and unless someone actually does it, I don’t think they understand what is involved.
“It can be tiring, and having respite like the breaks in Skegness definitely makes it easier.
“Simon does attend a day centre in Horncastle from Monday to Friday but he’s home at three o’clock so that means whatever I do, I have to be back before three.”
Simon can spend 28 nights-a-year away from home. The cost is partly funded by the county council and payments Simon makes from his own benefits.
Simon admits: “I’m very grateful to my brother. I would be lost without him.
“I enjoy going to Skegness. I like to go for a walk on the beach. I’ve been rowing on the boating lake and I really enjoy mini-golf.
“We also go to the pub. I love being at the sea-side but I love being at home as well.”
ASA’s area supervisor is Sandi Rance and she is delighted with the success of the respite scheme.
She said: “We had a referral from Simon’s care manager at Lincolnshire County Council.
“We always try to match ‘clients’ with providers who have the similar interests.
“In Simon’s case, he was matched to a lady called Sheila in Skegness, because he told us he wanted to go and stay at the seaside.”
ASA has a team of providers throughout the county. They are always looking for additional providers - and clients.
Sandi added: “The aim is to support vulnerable people and to help maintain their independence in the community – and to live a fulfilled life.
“We’re registered with the care quality commission and all the providers are assessed, approved, fully trained and CRB checked.
“Sometimes, they have had vulnerable people in their own family to look after but that is not always the case. It is tremendously rewarding although it can be very challenging.”
The brothers are proof that the scheme does work.
Ken admits: “Simon loves his time away. It’s nice for him to meet different people and he enjoys Skegness.
“I never worry when he’s there. I miss him and it is strange being on my own. I sometimes make two cups of tea – and then realise he’s not here.
“I can’t fault ASA one bit. They’ve been first class. I know there are probably people around like us who don’t even know the respite service exists.
“I’d definitely recommend it. There was a lot of paperwork at first, but it is well worth it and well worth the money.”
l The respite scheme is just one of many services offered by ASA.
Anyone who wants more information should call 01529 416270.
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Weather for Horncastle
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
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Wind direction: North
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Wind direction: North