Shared Lives Plus

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Farewell from Alex Fox, CEO – December 2021

Alex Fox, our CEO for 11 and half years moves on to a new role in January 2022. Since he started, we have grown into a strong and thriving team, shown that Shared Lives care can support many people with different support needs, strengthened our membership support and established Homeshare UK as a resilient and joyful way for older and younger people to share their lives and homes.

Jayne Wilson, our director of Development will become our interim CEO while, along with Lynette Barlow, Finance Director and the wider managers’ team, we decide what kind of CEO we want for our future. Jayne Wilson says, “We wish Alex all the best for the future and thank him for his leadership over the last 11 years.

We’re facing a challenging few years across social care prevention and delivery – and our priority is to make sure that Shared Lives carers are well supported, and that Shared Lives schemes and Homeshare organisations are in the best position to sustain themselves and grow. We’re going to consolidate our support to members (including through the new Your Voice forums), representing you on issues that you’ve told us most matter to you, such as pay, respite, and day support in Shared Lives, and changes around council tax rules for Homeshare.

We’re looking forward to significant growth for Homeshare, delivering two new programmes in Liverpool and Newcastle ourselves, and creating a new social franchise model, as well as new programmes in Wales, Scotland, and Norfolk.

And we are keener than ever to work with you, our members, so that our actions can be shaped by your priorities as we continue to punch above our weight across the UK.”

Alex reflects on the significant milestones Shared Lives Plus’ made during his leadership

 

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“Much has changed since I joined Shared Lives Plus. We’re still a small organisation, but we now have a national, and international, reputation which means we punch well above our weight: We have played a key role in advising government on the long-awaited social care White Paper in England; we are meeting with, and gaining support, from Ministers in Scotland and Wales; and an anonymous donor approached us to fund the biggest Homeshare development in UK history.

The last decade has seen us raising our profile, supporting our members to reach many more people, and winning improvements in working conditions, breaks, and pay. A big part of the success has come from our ability to build really broad alliances – from grassroots activists to Ministers – and from our willingness to think big. If we believe that our work is always going to be at the edges, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – and I don’t believe that you should have to change to fit into a broken system. I’ve always believed that we can be a part of building better, more human systems.

Because, ultimately, what really matters to people isn’t having a good service. It’s having the opportunity for a good life. To live in welcoming neighbourhoods, with people we have chosen, and who have chosen us, and do things that feel meaningful to us.

We need to see the whole person, not just their problems. And we need to make sure that people have the right kinds of support – not too little, and not too much – so that they can carry on being amazing.

Thank you for teaching me these lessons. I will take them with me to my new role as chief executive of Mayday Trust, a radical organisation re-inventing what good support looks like for people going through tough times like homelessness or leaving prison.

I know that I’m leaving an organisation in great hands and I’m excited to see the next chapter, under the leadership of Jayne, Lynette, and our brilliant team. What you do is amazing, and we need to believe that we can live our values and still be at the heart of the care and support systems of tomorrow.”

Read Alex’s latest blog series: ‘Things I’ve learnt about change

Read Jayne Wilson’s reflections on 2021