South Yorkshire patients living life to the full

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Like many young people John White enjoys football, regular trips to the cinema and learning new skills at college.

But the 21-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy and needs a wheelchair to get around – meaning that, until now, his mum Jackie has had to provide constant care.

However, now a new live-in care service is helping John gain his independence, while still getting the 24-hour support he requires.

The firm Caremark has just started running the service across John’s home town of Barnsley, and – after being approached by Jackie – drew up a list of criteria that would help in recruiting the right carer.

Eventually, the search led them to Martyn Potter, a former residential care worker, who now lives with John 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jackie said: “Although John and I took the decision for him to move out of the family home together, it was a hard one for both of us to make.

“I was happy to do everything for him and he was happy for me to do them, but the time was right for John to at least try living an independent life.

“I didn’t know how it would work out, but it has been fantastic for both John and I.

“The key was finding the right carer. If you didn’t know you would think John and Martyn were just two friends sharing a house, as they get on so well.”

John goes to college three days a week, where he is taking courses such as cookery, and also goes swimming and practises karate.

Martyn said: “This is the first time I have provided live-in care, but I enjoy it and find it rewarding.

“Spending time with John does not feel like work. I’m just happy to be playing a small part in helping him be more independent.”

Andrew Peace, Caremark Barnsley director, said: “We only launched our live-in care service last year and John is the first person referred to us, so naturally we are delighted with the success.”

n Call 01226 242858 or email for more information.