Having a Personal Budget can transform your life I manage to put people at ease and for them, knowing that I also manage my own Personal Health Budget for my daughter who has complex needs can be reassuring as I have first-hand experience of the challenges they can face. Glenys works for Independent Lives and is one of three Personal Health Budget advisers with lived experience. She first heard about Personal Health Budgets in 2012 just before her daughter Natasha, who has complex health needs and learning disabilities turned 18. In this blog Glenys shares her experiences of what having a Personal Health Budget has meant to her and her daughter Natasha. After it was confirmed that Natasha was eligible for Continuing Healthcare Funding, an Adviser from Independent Lives visited to explain how a Personal Health Budget could work. After deciding we wished to proceed with a personal health budget to enable us to have more control over the support we received with Natasha’s care, the Adviser worked with our family to write a person centred support plan and draft a budget detailing how the funds would be spent. The Personal Health Budget also funded a personal assistant to go into school with Natasha during her final term to become familiar with all her support needs, learning how she communicates and how to best support her during activities such as hydrotherapy or riding her trike. The budget was revised the following year when Natasha left school to provide increased support. This has enabled her to continue living at home which was what both Natasha and our family wanted. Whilst I was being supported by the Personal Health Budget Adviser from Independent Lives it was suggested that I might like to apply to a vacant adviser post, as my lived experience was considered to be extremely valuable for the role. After being Natasha’s main carer for 19 years and feeling unable to commit to work, I was keen to be able to share my experiences to assist others through the process, having experienced first hand just how invaluable having that support was. Through the flexibility of managing Natasha’s Personal Health Budget I was able to tailor the support so that I was able to apply for the role and return to work part-time. Independent Lives sees that at the heart of personal health budgets are good, person centred conversations with our customers, helping capturing what is important for and to them to remain healthy. My role is to guide the customer through these conversations which are then captured in a support plan. This can be written together with the individual and their family, the Personal Health Budget adviser and health care professional. When I first visit customers they often have very little understanding of what a Personal Health Budget is and how it can be used to deliver their care in a more person centred way. They appreciate the continuity of having a named adviser who will remain available to them for support for as long as they are in receipt of a Personal Health Budget direct payment. Many customers choose to employ their own Personal Assitants and are often daunted by the prospect of becoming employers. I am able to assist them by equipping them with the necessary tools to become effective employers, confident in managing their staff and meeting the legal obligations of being an employer. I manage to put people at ease and for them, knowing that I also manage my own Personal Health Budget for my daughter who has complex needs can be reassuring as I have first-hand experience of the challenges they can face.