• How much is it to Join? +

    As a carer you can join for as little as £60!

    If you would like to join as a Shared Lives Scheme then do get in touch with us for further information on Pricing

    To join simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

  • How do I join as a carer? +

    To join as a Shared Lives carer, you must be currently approved to provide Shared Lives care by a registered Shared Lives (or Adult Placement) scheme in the UK.

    Shared Lives carers make their home available as a resource and may provide Shared Lives support to up to three people at any one time (some Shared Lives schemes have a local limit of two people).

    Unlike care homes, Shared Lives carers do not employ staff to provide care to the people who they support. You can join as an individual, or with your partner, if s/he is also a Shared Lives carer.

  • What should I expect as a member? +

    As a member, you can expect: - Use of the free Shared Lives carers’ confidential helpline where you can obtain information advice and support from a dedicated national Carers Development Worker.

    - FREE legal expenses cover (up to a maximum of £25000) if you have an allegation made against you as a Shared Lives carer resulting in you being taken to court and/or your Scheme is seekingto de-approve you as a carer.

    - Free access to a legal helpline which you can use for advice on any relevant legal issue.

    - Public Liability Insurance at a preferential rate as well as access to other insurance provision developed to meet the needs of Shared Lives carers.

    - Three Shared Lives carer newsletters a year via post, which keep you up to date.- The opportunity to meet or get in touch with other carers, including through meetings, telephone conferences, an email group and a message board.

    - A members-only area of the website containing resources which are free to members

    Access to a wide range of toolkits and resources at members-only prices.

    - Access to our annual Shared Lives carers’ breaks and conference.

    - A conference for your home nation and/or for the UK, with a limited number of places for Shared Lives carers at supported rates.

    - An open invitation to attend national network meetings (and regional meetings in England).- At least one seat on the board of Shared Lives Plus for an elected Shared Lives carer.

    - A voice with local, regional and national decision makers and a programme of awareness-raising about Shared Lives and the work of Shared Lives carers.

  • How do I pay? +

    You can pay via cheque, bank card and credit card.
  • 1

FAQ

Questions and Answers

Friday, 12 October 2018 10:59

New report shows Homeshare is growing

We are delighted to publish the Homeshare annual sector report. It is a comprehensive analysis of the national Homeshare sector, laying out the key success, challenges and priorities for Homeshare in the UK.

It reflects on the remarkable growth in public awareness of the Homeshare model after high profile media appearances and a video of Florence and Alexandra on BBC politics that has been viewed 25 million times.

Important successes

  • The number of matches has increased 42% since last year
  • The average length of a Homeshare match has increased from 12-14 months
  • Six schemes are now financially self-sustaining
  • Evidence shows that Homeshare can simultaneously tackle loneliness at all ages, low-level support needs in older people, and the lack of affordable housing

Challenges

  • Homeshare is still only available to ‘self-funders’
  • Large parts of the UK and Ireland are not well served by Homeshare
  • There is still a lack of formalised referral pathways from health and social care professionals to Homeshare providers
  • Despite huge increase in public awareness, Homeshare is still relatively unknown amongst key potential supporters including; health and social care professionals and local authority front line staff.

The report calls for local areas to become ‘Homeshare friendly,’ and for national and local leadership to make Homeshare affordable for people on low incomes. We are also asking for Homeshare to be scaled up and developed in places where there is currently limited access to the scheme, particularly Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North East and South East of England.

Please take the time to read the full report for full picture of Homeshare in the UK, depicted in statistics and stories of people whose lives have been transformed and enriched by sharing a home, exchanging practical help, knowledge and companionship.

If you’re on the go, you can read the executive summary for some key facts!

Homeshare UK annual report 2018 - executive summary 

Homeshare UK - full report 2018

You can also read an the reports on the Homeshare UK website.

HendersonsNew ratings show that 96% Shared Lives carers and schemes were rated good or outstanding by care inspectors in England, smashing a Shared Lives best – improving on previous ratings of 92% - and still leading the social care sector for safety and quality. 

Shared Lives care is driven by the leadership in the UK’s network of 150 schemes who match people with Shared Lives carers, approved to open their own homes, to support people through tough times and enjoy life together. National data shows that sharing everyday life has transformative outcomes for people often stuck in the health and care system, with clear benefits for people’s health, independence and confidence.

But today the CQC reflects our own warning of a postcode lottery for Shared Lives support as health and social care services struggle with the pressure of funding cuts. The CQC’s State of Care report says: “Some people can easily access good care, while others cannot access the services they need, experience ‘disjointed’ care, or only have access to providers with poor services.”  

We continue to call on local leaders to invest in Shared Lives care, which adapts well to the needs of local populations. Our latest Shared Lives England report shows that as our ageing population grows and by 2020, three million of us are expected to have three or more long term conditions, there has been a 24% increase in the number of older people who are supported by a Shared Lives carer. If every scheme supported as many people as the best performing, an additional 21,000 people could enjoy being part of a Shared Lives family and community each year, potentially saving councils and health trusts over £500m.

Alex Fox, CEO Shared Lives Plus, the UK’s membership network, says “We are delighted that Shared Lives schemes are proven once again to exceed all other forms of social care – which people need at times when it really matters. 

Councils and the NHS need to get serious about growing Shared Lives schemes and recruiting more people to the UK’s invaluable network of 10,000 Shared Lives carers. We recognise that not all areas benefit from strong and successful Shared Lives care and we offer our leading expertise to every local leader who wants to realise their ambitions to invest in this life-changing support.

Today we are celebrating our membership network’s successes of sharing their lives and homes with people for whom our health and social care services are working well – and continue to call on government to invest fairly across the UK to drive out regional health and social inequalities.”

Enjoy our membership support for Shared Lives carers and grow Shared Lives in your area. Find out more about how to become a Shared Lives carer and contact your local scheme. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 17:35

Shared Lives and "Social Tourism"

“Social Tourism” is an initiative that seeks to support vulnerable or disadvantaged groups of people to be able to experience breaks away, new activities, and different cultures.


This week in Wales, we at Shared Lives Plus were excited to attend the launch of the Short Breaks and Social Tourism Practice and Research Network in Porthcawl. The Network was launched by Huw Irranca Davies, Minister for Children Older People and Social Care in Wales.


Hosted by the Wales School for Social Care Research and Linc Care, it was a full programme which included presentations from organisations who already provide various forms of social tourism across Wales. During the day we heard from a number of presenters, including STEER, MIRUS, Trinity and Carers Wales who shared the state of caring in Wales statistics with the network. (83% of carers had not had a week off in over a year, 70% suffered mental health)


Social Tourism has been shown to lead to increases in self-esteem, mental health, family relations, social engagement and participation in education and employment. Access to these benefits should be universal, and we were happy to contribute to discussions on a number of issues relating to rethinking social tourism and other forms of respite.


We were asked for responses to questions and key themes from this launch, which will be fed into the four nations knowledge exchange program. Watch this space!

"Health services need to trust in the good reputation Shared Lives has in social care and look at Shared Lives as a positive option for people. We recommend professionals to pick up the phone and talk to the Shared Lives scheme about any potential referrals; these conversations can prove really valuable."

 

We have been working with schemes all over the UK to explore and develop Shared Lives as a way of helping people who no longer need to be in hospital recover in a safe, comfortable and non-clinical environment. Shared Lives as intermediate care can be a great option for people who are ready to leave hospital, but not quite well enough to go home yet. It can also relieve pressure on our NHS by freeing up space in hospitals.

We are two years into this project, which began in 2016 with funding from The Dunhill Medical Trust and Department of Health Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD.) We are pleased to share an update on the progress of this work, which has shown that "Shared Lives can work well for people being discharged from hospital, especially where traditional services would be unsuitable."

The report describes the successes and challenges encountered so far, and ends with our recommendations for health professionals and commissioners. If you are interested in developing Shared Lives in your scheme to help people come home from hospital, contact Jenny Evans This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

docxIC_project_update_September_2018.docx

flu fighterNHS England have confirmed that free flu vaccinations are available in 2018/19 for Shared Lives carers who play important roles in social care, offering direct care to people using services.

Who is eligible?
Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza. Vulnerable means those patients/clients in a clinical risk group for flu or who are aged 65 years and over.
NHS England have confirmed that this includes staff directly involved in the care of vulnerable people who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza who are working for registered:
• residential care homes;
• residential nursing homes;
• domiciliary care services;
• Shared Lives schemes;
• extra care housing services;
• supported living services.

Where and how can eligible staff get a free vaccination?
Staff can go to their own GP practice or any pharmacy. To prove that they are eligible they will need to take identification with them that shows their names and the name of their employing organisation. This could be an ID card or badge, a letter from their employer, or a recent payslip.

Further information and resources
For more information on the free flu vaccinations for social care staff read the full announcement letter

Nick Sayers presNick Sayers, Ambassador shared what equality and diversity mean to him, at our 2018 conference, with his own poem that he performed in the morning plenary.

"I am an Ambassador, a worker and a volunteer. Being an Ambassador means I sometimes give talks with Alex who is the boss of Shared Lives Plus. Being an Ambassador and being a boss are different jobs but they are both important. I am happy to be different from Alex. We are different but we are equal. He is Alex and I am me. And this is my poem about equality.


I have never wanted to be anyone else

I am far too happy being me

All the things I can do.

If someone says to me

“ You can’t go there Nick”

I just reply

“Then help me find a way”

I can

because I want to

and they do

and I can be

That’s Equality for me."

James Rosborough veggiesIn this speech from our 2018 conference, James Rosborough, Ambassador explains the effect that being in Shared Lives has had on his independence and his ability to pursue his goals and dreams.

"My names is James.

I have been living in a Shared Lives arrangement with Andy and his family for nearly eight years. Before this I lived in a specialist home for over 20 years.

I now like the freedom I have, to do the things that I enjoy, when I want to do them, just like most other people. I can choose to go out, without telling anyone, and meet friends in my favourite café. I can do most things for myself, but can I get help when I need it. People are not doing things for me all the time and this makes me happy.

I now have my own house and garden, something I never thought would happen to me. I can choose to go to Karate, order a pizza or go to the pub, with or without Andy.

I like feeling a part of things, being a Shared Lives Ambassador, giving talks to help people know more about epilepsy, working with Local Social and visiting lots of new places. I like helping people and they let me do it now. People listen to my opinions and ideas, although I am not always right, this also makes me happy.
Epilepsy does not now stop me from doing anything and my health has improved since being in Shared Lives.

I am very, very proud to be a Shared Lives Ambassador.

Thank you."

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 12:24

"We are all pretty cool - in our own way"

Michael Turner presIn this fantastic speech from our 2018 conference, Michael Turner, Ambassador describes his vision of equality and diversity - which for him is about "having the chance to go to infinity and beyond no matter who you are." 

When Lyn asked me if I would talk about equality and diversity at the conference I asked her:

“What are you going on about?”

She had to tell me what she meant. I still didn’t know what she was going on about, so I asked:

“Is it about us Ambassadors then?”

And she said;

“kind of…”

So we talked some more and then she told me:

“Just say what it means to you Michael”

So, that is what I will do. Getting equality is about resilience and never giving up.It is about keeping going till the last minute till you reach your destiny, your mission is completed, or you have won.

Diversity is what makes someone special. Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story struggles to come to terms with who he is. For a long time, he pretends that he is a space ranger so much that he really believes he is a space ranger. Then when he finds out he is ‘Just a toy’ he is sad and ashamed of who he is.

Woody, his friend, has a good quality. Woody’s quality is to help Buzz understand and be proud of who he is. He might not be a space ranger, but he is just as good.
He is more than good. He is someone special. In fact, he is a really cool toy.

We are all different, so supporting us means listening and treating us as individuals not all the same. Like, for me, that means having plenty of notice. I get equality at Shared Lives Plus because of the quality of support I get. This helps me to be more confident to be myself and my qualities get better.

Equality is about having the chance to go to infinity and beyond no matter who you are.

Diversity means we don’t all have to be space rangers to do it.

We are all good.

We are all special.

and...

We are all pretty cool, in our own way.

Extract: Homelessness

National and local contexts

Shelter described homelessness as affecting 81,000 households during 2013-14, of which 2,414 were people rough sleeping, a rise of 37% since 2010. An ongoing rise in officially estimated rough sleeper numbers remained evident in 2014, with the national total up by 55 per cent since 2010. At 14 per cent, the 2014 country-wide was the largest since 2011 (Homelessness Monitor Report, 2016).

Since bottoming out in 2010/11, homeless placements in temporary accommodation have risen sharply, with the overall national total rising by 12 per cent in the year to 30th June 2015; up by 40 per cent since its low point four years earlier. Although accounting for only eight per cent of the national total, B&B placements rose sharply (23%) in the most recent year. 'Out of district' placements also continue to rise, now accounting for 26 per cent of the national total, up from only 11 per cent in 2010/11. Such placements mainly involve London boroughs.

Homelessness is linked to high levels of crime, mental health issues, substance misuse, high unemployment and high levels of benefits:

  • 45% compared to 25% in the general population, have a long term health problem
  • 41% compared to 28% and 36% have used drugs and/or 27% use or are recovering from alcohol problems.
  • 79% of prisoners who reported homelessness before custody reoffended within a year of release compared to 47% of those unaffected by homelessness.  

As well as issues relating to offending and substance misuse, homelessness also has health implications. Homeless people have poorer health outcomes than the

general population, and an average age of death 30 years below the national average. Living on the streets or without a stable home can make people vulnerable to illness, poor mental health and drug and alcohol problems. Homeless people often seek medical treatment at a later stage during illness, leading to costly secondary health care and worsened health outcomes. This situation is exacerbated by the reduced potential for recovery due to many homeless people returning to insecure accommodation or rough sleeping after medical treatment. In some cases, accommodation may be lost during their time in hospital.

Research carried out in 2010 showed that the total cost of hospital use by homeless people is estimated to be about four times higher than the general population. Looking at inpatient costs alone, the difference is eight times higher among homeless people.

Evidence about what works

A report by the Centre for Health Service Economics & Organisation (CHSEO) in 2011 showed that projects and models which have been implemented to improve admission and discharge practice have demonstrated cost benefits in two different ways:  

  • Reduced average length of stay as homeless people are more likely to be discharged sooner if their houseing and next steps are adequaterly addressed
  • Greater recovery rates through timely discharge to suitable accommodation, resulting in fewer emergency readmissions to hospital within 28 days.  

The first report from the Ministerial Working Group on tackling and preventing homelessness, Vision to end rough sleeping: no second night out nationwide (2011) included a commitment to improve hospital discharge for homeless people. The following year, Homeless Link and St Mungo’s were commissioned by DH to explore how the system of hospital admission and discharge was working for homeless people, and what more needed to be done to improve where the system was failing to discharge homeless people into appropriate accommodation. The report, Improving hospital admission and discharge for people who are homeless, published (May 2012) showed that more than 70% of homeless people had been discharged from hospital back onto the street, without their housing or underlying health problems being address. This was further damaging their health and increasing costs to the NHS through ‘revolving door’ admissions.

Government investment of £10million was announced in May 2013 for the Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund, for voluntary sector organisations, working in partnership with the NHS and local government, to bid for money to improve hospital discharge arrangements for homeless people. Homeless link was commissioned by DH to evaluate these projects focusing on what works in supporting homeless people from being readmitted to hospital (both through emergency and planned admissions) and securing stable housing and support after a hospital stay. The findings identified key features of effective models and practice for future replication including:

  • Having a model which combines access to accommodation alongside link workers. Outcomes data showed that where this was available, more clients were discharged into appropriate accomodation (93% compared to 71% overall). 
  • Making intensive support available for people once they have found accomodation is important to improve their recovery and discharge process. 
  • Clarification of the ‘client group’ that projects/schemes are intended to work with (eg rough sleepers, those at risk of homelessness, groups with specific needs such as mental health or substance misuse issues, hostel residents).

Potential outcomes achieved through Shared Lives

A Shared Lives arrangement provides an alternative option for people with a complex profile of support needs including people who are homeless or at risk of

becoming homeless. With its careful matching process, Shared Lives is ideally suited to manage such complexity in an individual way, giving the person living in a Shared Lives arrangement the opportunity to realise their full potential.

This is an area where Shared Lives has the potential to offer a unique combination of accommodation, tailored support and a relationship with a Shared Lives carer and a clear focus on building new networks and communities. This latter point is an important one to stress in terms of breaking the cycle for people coming out of rehab/prison where their networks are all based around their drug using/criminal behaviour etc. Shared Lives gives people an opportunity to build new social networks as well as providing support to look after their health, get and retain paid work and plan for the future.

 

Stories of lived experience

Dave is a man in his fifties who sustained head injuries inflicted by his father as a child and has experienced a lifetime of mental health difficulties. These have often presented themselves in the form of symptoms of bipolar disorder, which he is not able to recognise and manage himself. Dave has never been able to live fully independently and has spent many years living in various hostels and shelters, where he was seen as “looking like a tramp” and was very vulnerable. He has been living within Shared Lives for nine years in two very successful arrangements. Although it is possible he may never live completely independently, Dave now has a network of positive friendships and relationships and attends the local football club with the son of his previous Shared Lives carer. He dresses  smartly and manages his personal care with support, receiving regular medical and dental treatment. When his mental health deteriorates it's noticed and he gets the right support.

Andrew was living in a homeless hostel before being referred to Shared Lives by his Drugs and Alcohol team. He has seizures and was generally in poor health as a result of his alcohol dependency. Within a few months his health, wellbeing and appearance improved. Previously unable to manage his money, he now has support to manage his finances. He now moderates his alcohol intake and he and his Shared Lives carer have become friends.

"Sharing everyday life got me through tough times" - Susan's story

For more information about developing a Shared Lives scheme to support people who experience homelessness, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07739819825

In this fantastic speech at our 2018 conference, Rita*, a Shared Lives carer, describes her experience of supporting someone who has experienced gender transitions as part of our theme of equality and diversity.

"My name’s Rita, I’m a Shared Lives carer and I live in Kent. I am supported by Bettertogether, the Shared Lives scheme in Newham and Havering, and I support two young adults - Sean* and Josh* who live with me and have given me permission to share some of our experiences with you.

I’d like to share with you examples of what diversity and equality looks like within Shared Lives, in ‘real life'. I’d like you to consider the language we are taught about diversity and equality, and how our attitudes are tested in the real world of Shared Lives care. 

Josh is now 20, fostered with me since age eight, and I became a Shared Lives carer when he was 18. 

Imagine the scene; a young lad has lived with you since childhood, and is now age 16. You knock and enter his room to find him putting on a lacy black petticoat, you realise it’s yours. 

What would your response be? 

As you may guess, this happened in my world, four years ago. And often my responses surprise even me. I just said:

“Josh, you know you should ask before borrowing my things……… Supper’s ready”

His response?

“Awkward!”

I closed the door and went back downstairs. We ate and then I asked if he’d like a chat.  All the stereotypes came into my mind; transvestite? Cross dresser? Gay? Does he like the feel of lace as part of a sor tof teenage sexual experimentation? Gender identity didn’t even cross my mind.

We chatted and when I asked about his response, he said he didn’t feel at all “awkward”….. but he thought that I did. It transpired he had been secretly wearing a variety of my underwear and clothes for quite a while and had always felt like a girl, since around age 6 yrs. To him my clothes just felt natural.

I will never forget when I said, “that’s ok, if that’s how you feel, I love you as you”. The smile on his face was indescribable - epecially given that he rarely shows emotion.

I asked his permission to seek advice and support him regarding his wish to outwardly portray as female.

Also, a note to self at this time, I have far too many clothes, so many that I didn’t even miss the ones he had stashed away from me!

So thinking about diversity - and I don’t mean Ashley Banjo and the dance group - how do we react to all that we come across in Shared Lives? Think back to the petticoat scenario. I’d like you to notice that I didn’t say to Josh:

“It’s ok with me, I accept your gender choice.”

Society asks us to ‘accept’ people’s differences: "I ‘accept’ your diverse needs, your disability, gender, sexual orientations..."

Personally I feel that this is actually quite patronising to people, who are placed in society as the minority. By the talking of ‘acceptance’ are we not saying that we the majority accept the minority? How condescending of us! Would we say (or think of) Joe Bloggs next door:

"I accept you"?

No! We just do, naturally. That’s how I think of Josh, he just is. In his gender identity journey he became Jenny for a year, back to Josh for a while, then chose to be Jade for about a year.

Currently he is Josh again -watch this space! Because within Shared Lives he has autonomy and empowerment of choice, including the freedom to change his mind. But struggles and faces prejudice from parents and even self in the need to fit in.

This brings me to equality. In all the training I have had over many years, the standard definition of equality in the workplace is to:

"Treat everyone the same regardless (or irrespective) of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age."

For me, to ensure equality you need to be regardful and respective, of everyone, however different they are, because within all of us we have prejudice, we are judgemental and have stereotypical views which are nurtured since birth. If we deny our stereotypical views, change can’t happen. Hands up, I had stereotypical thoughts about the petticoat, (but didn’t show it.)

However, at the beginning when Josh portrayed herself as Jenny, I judged how she should look, behave, even feel like a girl and I voiced these thoughts to her. It was difficult and painful for both of us.

We sought advice at a gender identity clinic and we learnt from them, but mainly, I got immense support from the team at Bettertogether, my Shared Lives scheme in Newham and Havering.

We have been on Josh's journey together, during which he has expressed his feelings about himself through behaviours such as self harm, alcohol, drugs, stealing and seriously pushing other boundaries. That was difficult and painful to support him through too. 

Through it all I kept my regard for his disabilities, striving to understand his perspective. In my view, I know instinctively inside he is female. Frustratingly, the gender clinic were quick to judge his “confusion” as being down to his disability, global development delay. They judged his ambivalence as him not having body dysphoria (a criteria for support)and they didn’t recognise his delayed emotional intelligence.

His voice was therefore not taken seriously and somewhat dismissed. The mental health service - the same, they didn’t show any ability to find the ways to communicate with Josh, thus support sessions stopped. It was really frustrating.

What is so great about working with Bettertogether, my Shared Lives scheme, is that Emma, my support officer and Sarah, the manager have a great ability in helping me to sound off, stand back a bit, and reflect. But through it all they believed me and Josh. This relieved my frustrations - they trusted my professionalism. They carried out a Mental Capacity Assessment which confirmed my instincts.

During difficult times with Josh, Sarah Havard, my Shared Lives scheme manager advised:

“You can’t always choose what happens, but you can choose how you react.”

This advice has been so useful for me in many contexts, thank you. When others have failed Josh, when society have judged him, my scheme - Bettertogether, (who may I add have recently been inspected as ‘Outstanding’) have been my go-to rock, my back bone to carry on advocating for Josh. They are my one step removed perspective of what I live 24/7.

To conclude - diversity and equality…whatever ‘label box’ our adults are put into, what’s paramount is that they are human beings and equally part of human kind, let’s not just accept them, let us behold, value, respect and especially learn from them. And on that note, I asked Sean, who’s been with me a year now:

“when explaining our relationship to others, how would he like to refer to me as, your carer or your host?”

His reply was: 

“My housemate.”

Yes I care/support and host but he just wants, and views me to be, his equal. Another human being with whom he shares a home with.

Just a thought: this shows, we are Shared Lives.

*names changed for confidentiality

Page 1 of 29

FAQ Didn't Solve Your Problem?

Get Direct Access to the Team Via Phone, Email or Live Chat.

Contact Us

If you have not received new LOG IN details in the last few days then you will be unable to log in here until you have done so. Please do not attempt to log in as you will be locked out

Thank you for logging in. Now please feel free to visit the private sections of the site.