by Carol Carney

Towards the start of my career, I worked in a day centre for Liverpool Social Services. One of my close friends there was Linda, who lived with her mum, and attended almost every day.

Linda spent most of her time in sessions with me. We went on holiday every year and spent some weekends away youth hostelling, camping and caravanning. Sadly, after I left Social Services, we lost touch.

So imagine my surprise, years later, when I came to look around L’Arche - and there was Linda living in one of the flats! After her mum died, she had moved into a L’Arche flat. It was great to see how happy she was and the friendships she had developed.

Seeing her, I made up my mind to apply for the Community Leader role.

L’Arche is very different to other ‘providers’. It is unique, in that we promote mutual relationships, respect and friendships. There is no ‘them and us’ and everyone is encouraged to find their place.

Linda and I picked up our relationship where we left off. As Community Leader, I remained close to her. I had the privilege of spending time with her on the day she died – peacefully in her flat, surrounded by family and friends – after we had nursed her through to the end of her life.

Linda will always have a special place in my heart as will all of the friendships I have made in L’Arche.