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The scale of the #GoodLife

As we celebrate #SharedLivesWeek and the role that Shared Lives carers play in supporting people’s human rights, it’s time to reflect on the big picture and on evidence of the difference Shared Lives makes across the UK.

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The very latest reports from the English, Welsh and Scottish Shared Lives sectors (as well as information from the first ever Northern Ireland report, out soon) show that, in total, 10,600 Shared Lives carers are supporting 14,000 people to live a #GoodLife. This is the biggest Shared Lives has ever been.

But when we consider the quality of outcomes Shared Lives can provide for people, the potential it has to enrich lives and bring communities together, this is not nearly big enough.

Shared Lives is officially, and consistently rated by the CQC as the safest, and  highest quality form of care – with a record of 96% Shared Lives carers and schemes rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’  Meanwhile, people with support needs are having some of their most basic human rights trampled on.

Yet our model is about much more than just keeping people safe from harm, imprisonment and degradation. It’s about recognising that everybody has the right to expect the freedom to flourish, develop and live a #GoodLife. Shared Lives centres people who need support to take charge of who they live with and how they live, with the chance to exercise the human rights that many of us take for granted.

The most important measure of Shared Lives is how people who use it feel about how their lives are going. People with experience of Shared Lives helped us develop a tool that measures how well a person is living, by deciding on specific categories that reflect a #GoodLife, and the questions to test them. People are asked these questions, about topics such as their physical health and social lives, at six monthly intervals, and the My Shared Life tool shows their progress in graphs.

The latest data from My Shared Life shows that 97% people in Shared Lives felt they were part of the family most or all of the time, 89% people in Shared Lives felt involved with their community, and 86% felt their Shared Lives carer’s support helped them have more choice in their daily life.

Shared Lives shows that our lives are #BetterShared, so to help more people live the #GoodLife join the conversation online and find out what you can do!