A Shared Lives carer is someone who opens up their home and family life to include an adult with support needs. Shared Lives carers come from all walks of life and don’t need qualifications or experience, just the right attitude and a willingness to truly share their lives with another person. Shared Lives carers are carefully selected and trained by a regulated Shared Lives scheme. They are paid a fixed amount, rather than an hourly rate and have access to preferential tax arrangements.
Shared Lives Plus is the membership organisation for Shared Lives carers and also Shared Lives schemes and Homeshare schemes. Our members want to know what we are doing and why. They also want to feel that we listen to them and act on their concerns.
The Shared Lives carer support team provide our Shared Lives carer members with resources, training, information, advice and one-to-one support.
They help to make sure that the voices of our Shared Lives carer members feed into and influence everything we do.
By listening to our members we get to know what is working and not working at a local level. Communication between members is vital and we support our Shared Lives carer members to talk to, support and learn from each other. By listening to the collective voices of our members we enable them to; shape the direction of our work, to influence national and local decision makers and develop a more personalised social care system.
I would like to become a Member
Being a Member means we’re there when you need it…
Our members tell us being a Shared Lives carer can be a rewarding experience as you see someone else grow and receive so much in return. With Membership of Shared Lives Plus you can use a range of support services to make life easier and know there’s back up when you need it. From tax returns to mortgage and legal advice – we’re there for you.
What is included in Shared Lives Plus Membership and how you can make the most of it in 2018:
Peace of mind
People like me
Full membership also includes public liability insurance, so we can cover you for personal injury or property damage to a third person. Some schemes cover you automatically, but if not, you will need our full Membership to cover you. You can call us to check if you’re covered.
Discount for Joint Membership
If there is a second approved Shared Lives carer living with you, for example your partner, you will need Joint Membership so that you are both covered for any legal expenses or advice if an allegation is brought against the second approved Shared Lives carers. It’s only £10 more for full Membership or £15 for basic Membership, so make sure you’re covered and enjoy all the other benefits too.
What is public liability insurance?
When you care for an elderly or disabled person you may be legally liable, should someone suffer a loss or be injured as a result of the actions of the person in your care, or under your supervision.
Public Liability insurance protects Shared Lives carers from claims arising from personal injury or property damage to a third party as a result of alleged negligence on your part.
We have partnered with Towergate for many years as they understand the unique nature of family-based Shared Lives care and have developed a policy which provides effective and broad cover. Towergate’s Public Liability policies also include being sued by a service user for abuse cover for physical, mental or financial losses.
Wider Wallet – get discounts on everyday shopping, online, gift cards and vouchers
As part of your Membership of Shared Lives Plus, you can use Wider Wallet for free. It’s a website with lots of offers to save you money and includes online discounts, cashback offers, reloadable discounted gift cards and downloadable vouchers. For example, you can save 3% at Asda, 6% at B&Q, 7% at Bella Italia or 10% at Cineworld on cinema tickets. Register for free, simply click on www.widerwallet.com enter the code we will give you when you become a Member.
Mortgage advice specifically for Shared Lives carers
New Membership benefit - free will writing service
Around 20%, every one in £5 that we receive, comes from Membership fees and contributes towards the Membership offer for support when you need it. But, we spend almost £2.50 in every £5, 50%, of our entire income, directly on supporting Members. A further seven in £10, 70%, of our income comes from funding grants from the Big Lottery, NHS England, Nesta, Welsh Assembly and others which also contributes to Members’ support and enables us to grow and develop Shared Lives for more people. It also helps us develop advice and guidance for Shared Lives carers and schemes supporting people with diverse range of support needs.
We have begun to send Shared Lives schemes the first parts of their Shared Lives Week packs. The full packs will include an assortment of newly designed materials such as posters, leaflets, cards, balloons and even Shared Lives rice paper for decorating cupcakes - all of which will be available for you to use as you celebrate Shared Lives Week locally.
But this first part of the pack is something a bit different. This year's theme is valuing Shared Lives carers, and we want to raise the profile of the amazing role that Shared Lives carers play amongst politicians. This is also an important part of building political support for our related campaign: fairness for Shared Lives carers. We want MPs to meet the Shared Lives carers that live and work in their constituencies. So as the first part of the Shared Lives week packs, we have created a postcard for you to fill out and send to your local MP, inviting them to meet you.
The postcards will be arriving to you through your schemes soon. When you receive your postcard - simply fill it out and send it to your MP. If they reply, you could be in with a chance of being a guest at our parliamentary receptiion at the House of Commons, on Wednesday June 20th!
If it is more convenient, you can also arrange to meet your MP locally.
Dear Shared Lives and HomeShare members,
Welcome to the latest bi-weekly members newsletter, your source of information about the latest developments in the world of Shared Lives and Homeshare. Read on to learn about:
GDPR – don’t be locked out!
We recently sent out information about a new law – GDPR – which means you need to actively opt-in to be able to continue receiving data from us. We haven’t had many people reply to us yet – please do so and give your consent to contact you by Friday 25 May - or we will no longer be able to contact you!
Shared Lives week resources
The date is set for Shared Lives week – Friday 15 - Sunday 24 June, and so is the theme: ‘Valuing Shared Lives carers’ Schemes and carers all around the country will be taking part in the Great Shared Lives Picnic and other events to celebrate the amazing role that carers play and demonstrate that they deserve a fair deal. We are re-designing older information leaflets and creating new resources to make up a pack of materials for you to use. Please request the materials you need from us – schemes that don’t request a pack won’t get one!
Fairness for Shared Lives carers
Fair pay campaign
Fairness for Shared Lives carers also means being paid fairly – so we are campaigning for Shared Lives carers pay to be considered as part of wider social care pay reviews. In order to do this we will be lobbying ministers, MPs and Local government commissioners, explaining the amazing work you do and showing that you deserve it! We all need to work together to do this – carers, schemes and Shared Lives Plus. We need your input:
Scheme members – do you have examples of times you have successfully campaigned for carers’ pay increase?
Carer members – can you tell us a time (big or small) when you showed that Shared Lives above and beyond a typical 9 – 5 job?
Carers teleconference reminder
The next teleconference is Wednesday 16 May. The teleconferences are a great way of discussing issues and ideas in more depth, with fellow Shared Lives carers and our carer support team. If you’ve not joined before – it can seem complicated, but our carer support can show you how simple it is!
Mental Health Awareness Week – film launch
Mental Health Awareness Week is from the Monday 14 Sunday 20 May. The week is about acknowledging and checking our stress – and how we cope with it. At Shared Lives Plus we have made a film about the positive effects Shared Lives can have on mental health for people being supported. Of course. Sharing your life can improve the wellbeing of Shared Lives carers too! We will be launching a brilliant short film, featuring some inspiring people sharing their lives on, the Monday to support Mental Health Awareness Week. Watch this space!
Shared Lives on Swansea Radio
Our new development officer in Wales, Kathryn Morgan, was recently interviewed by the editor of the Wave radio station in Swansea. This was part of a wider, and award-winning, campaign called ‘Don’t Dance Alone.’ This campaign is designed to highlight the endemic loneliness in Wales amongst older people – and to promote ways of tackling it. Kathryn explained how Shared Lives and Homeshare are perfectly positioned to do this. To listen scroll down to the clip titled ‘Swansea Sound Headlines Apr 17 2018 13:00 (BST)’ and skip to 2:23. #DontDanceAlone
We are still keen to get photos of your shared lives – selfies and group shots of you out and about, having fun or just your ordinary routine at home. Now that the sun has finally made a few appearances, we’d love to get photos with a spring theme! Send us your snaps, and we’ll feature them in our newsletters, website and other materials.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this latest roundup of the latest developments in Shared Lives. As always we’d encourage you to get in touch and share your views with us – they are crucial to us as your membership organisation.
Until next time,
Phoebe Rowell and Michael Kazich, Shared Lives Plus communications team