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Date published: March 15, 2024

Shared Lives carers in South West celebrate ARF funding announcement

Husband and wife Gill and Ian Richardson became Shared Lives carers 14 years ago having previously worked in residential care and supported living roles. The couple, who live in Tiverton, Devon, are supported by Shared Lives Plus members Shared Lives South West.

Gill and Ian support Geoff who is in 70s, and Sam and Fiona who are in their 40s, from their home.

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Geoff, who has a learning disability, previously lived in a care home which had some goats. When it closed, officers from the local Shared Lives South West scheme, carefully matched him with Gill and Ian who live on a farm.

Now Geoff lives with people he calls family and has a whole range of farm animals to tend to.

Gill explains,

“We wanted to give people individual support and meet their needs personally, Shared Lives allows people to be who they are in a family setting and that’s what we really like about it.”

“We want to give people the chance to live life their way. To us this isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle,”

adds Ian.

“We are really pleased about Shared Lives getting funding as there are so many people who still don’t know about it. It is great that Shared Lives is being valued and recognised and this will really help get the word out there,”

stated Gill.


Dominic Spayne from Shared Lives South West added:

“I am delighted that all three of the integrated care boards that we work with will be supporting the growth of Shared Lives through the Accelerated Reform Fund.

This clearly demonstrates that senior figures within all the local authorities we work with recognise and appreciate the amazing care and support provided by Shared Lives Carer, and that there is a huge appetite to grow the model in the Westcountry.

We look forward to collaborating with Shared Lives Plus and other schemes across the country, ensuring we all capitalise on this landmark moment for the Shared Lives model.”

The Accelerating Reform Fund (ARF) will distribute a total of £42.6m across England in the next two years to support innovation in adult social care. Around half of Shared Lives schemes across England will receive funding to grow and develop their support for people with a learning disability, dementia, young people leaving care, unpaid carers, and people leaving hospital.

Notes to editors