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Date published: March 15, 2024

Minister for Social Care visits Shared Lives household in Oxfordshire to mark launch of Accelerating Reform Fund

Minister for Social Care, Helen Whately, visited the county council run Shared Lives scheme in Oxfordshire on Wednesday 13 March to launch the Accelerating Reform Fund.

The Minister met Sarah Rees, Shared Lives carer, and Sammy, one of three people she supports.

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Minister for Social Care, Helen Whately, said:

“I have seen first-hand how much of a difference initiatives like Shared Lives makes for people with care needs. With this investment, councils and local partners across the country will be empowered to improve the quality and access of care, while also providing more support for unpaid carers through incredible initiatives like this.”

Sarah Rees, Shared Lives carer said:

“Being part of Shared Lives has given me the chance to meet some incredible people. It’s important that when people stay with us, they feel like they’re part of the family. This can be as easy as taking our dog, Hugo, for a walk in the park. That sense of normality can be just what people need to really put them at ease.

“Sometimes the support offered in more formal settings just doesn’t work for people. They just don’t seem to fit. But everyone fits in Shared Lives.”

Sammy has been staying on a more long term basis and said:

“Since living at Sarah’s house, it’s been like a home to me. Sarah is the most incredible Shared Lives carer. I am always encouraged to be independent, so I often cook and bake for the household. The relationship we all have with Sarah is really special – we even made her a cake for Mother’s Day!”

From this first instalment of the Accelerating Reform Fund, Oxfordshire County Council will receive approximately £150,000, which will be divided between programmes that build on the county council’s Oxfordshire Way vision to support people to live well and independently within their own communities.

This includes funding to add additional capacity to Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives project and Age UK Oxfordshire’s Homeshare programme.

Notes to editors