• 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


Questions and Answers

james bickAfter graduating from university last year, I found myself with some spare time on my hands, which I felt could be spent on something more meaningful than Netflix and nights out! So I decided I would volunteer my services to a charity, but the question of ‘Which one?’ lingered in my mind. Whilst all charities are worthy causes, I wished to lend my hand to one that spoke to me, and when I discovered Shared Lives Plus through a recommendation from my uncle, I knew that this was the place I needed to be.

Now, I must throw my hands up and admit that I didn’t know a single thing about adult social care, let alone Shared Lives, so I felt it best to some research before reaching out and offering my assistance. Whilst reading some of the blog post and stories on the Shared Lives website, I was immediately overcome with emotion, and learning of these courageous and caring people, prompted me to question myself even more, how could I not know about this amazing work before today?

After meeting with their communications team, we began to organise a schedule that would allow me to fit my volunteering around my constantly differing work pattern. I remember my first day so vividly, I was so scared to mess anything up, not because I was afraid of landing in trouble, but because I knew how important this charity was to many people, I didn’t want to let them or myself down. But all that fear evaporated when I entered the office and was welcomed by everyone with open arms, I instantly felt like I was a part of something that was striving towards a greater good, and thus felt even more compelled to deliver the greatest work possible.

 Tasks varied from week to week, from inputting members’ satisfaction surveys from paper to the computer, to transcribing interviews and developing a Google Analytics report about their website, all were completely new territory for me, but that didn’t stop or deter me. I felt compelled to do these things as I was now a part of the Shared Lives Plus community and wanted to help the people I had read about. However, I must admit that my favourite activity was writing some of the members’ stories for the blog and social media platforms, as I was in touch with people who had inspired me to volunteer, and in turn I hope I helped inspire others to do the same. 

The more I learnt about Shared Lives Plus and amazing people that were a part of it, the more I enjoyed coming into the office, for the first time in a long time I felt as if I was doing something worthwhile, something that mattered to others. The work that employees and carers do for this charity is indescribable, and it is so apparent from their dedication and conviction, that each and every member loves what they do, which in turn filled my heart with so much love. And now that I’ve learnt about adult social care, I find myself telling my friends about it, any chance I can get.

My six months with Shared Lives came and went with the blink of an eye, but the lessons I learnt from this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life. This amazing charity has taught me so much, and I just hope that I can take what I have learnt and inspire others to do the same. So if you’re reading this and questioning whether or not you should volunteer at your local scheme, all I can say is DO IT! Because I promise, you won’t regret a single thing and it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.

If you've been inspired by James and would like to volunteer in our communications team for experience in social media, film, data analytics, writing, interviews, or any other part of our charity, please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0151 227 3499 - we are always looking for volunteers for 1 day or more a week, expenses paid. 

We in the Carer Support and Development Team have welcomed, in the last month, the seven Shared Lives Champions we recruited at the end of last year. This is an exciting project, funded by the Ellerman Foundation over the next three years.

Our Champions are all current Shared Lives carers, and have a wealth of experience, not only in providing Shared Lives in their communities, but in a variety of other areas too, and their commitment and enthusiasm for Shared Lives is infectious, in a good way.

Our Champions will be working across the regions of the England and Wales primarily. We hope to expand into Scotland and Northern Ireland in the not too distant future. They will not be ‘working’ as Champions when it comes to their own schemes, to avoid confusion. Some are already involved in carer groups and working with their schemes.

Here are Champions, who will be championing the work of Shared Lives carers around the nations:

Helen Piscioneri: Helen is based in London, supporting the London area.

Andy Cooke: Andy is based in Hertfordshire, supporting the South East.

Sarah Bannon: Sarah is in Hampshire, supporting the South West.

Charlotte Hall: Charlotte is based in Yorkshire, supporting the North East.

Victoria Silver: Victoria is based in Yorkshire, supporting the North West.

Rose Giannotti: Based in South Wales, supporting the South of Wales.

Steve Collis: Based in North Wales, supporting the North of Wales.

The Champions are working one day a week, with the Welsh Champions job sharing Wales.

Emma hill, Carer Support and Development Officer, is coordinating their work and they are already starting to get out and about, so you can expect updates. As current Shared Lives carers, they share our commitment to growing the network of support available to Shared Lives carers, supporting carers when times are challenging, and when things are going well. They will be working on producing guidance and information that supports what you do in your role as Shared Lives carers.

They are currently getting to grips with the trials and tribulations of homeworking; temperamental technology and uncooperative passwords, as well as getting to grips with the all the work that Shared Lives Plus does across the UK.

We hope, over the course of the project, to see our Shared Lives carer support; particularly peer support, grow locally, regionally and nationally, not only supporting you to do what you do, but to get the word out there about Shared Lives and to see schemes; people who use Shared Lives, scheme staff and Shared Lives carers, continue to develop and support people in our communities.

Keep an eye out on our website, as we will be posting more information about our Champions over the course of the next few weeks, including bios and photos and they will feature in the next issue of Sharing.

We know that you will make them welcome and we really look forward to seeing all that we can achieve together.

If you would like to find out more, perhaps invite a Champion to your next event or scheme meeting, then please, in the first instance, get in touch with Emma Hill at:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: 07391 418 533

Shared Lives in Wales is supporting more older people than ever to live independently in their own homes, according to our latest comprehensive analysis of the Shared Lives sector in Wales. 

Our report, Shared Lives in Wales 2017-18 describes how older people in Wales who are receiving the support of a Shared Lives carer, are continuing to enjoy family life at home and are part of warm and positive human relationships. The report includes all the key statistics on Shared Lives in Wales, breaking down how Shared Lives carers open their homes and lives to nearly 1,000 people who need support with daily life across Wales, including those with dementia, mental ill health, older age or young people leaving care. It's also full of the beautiful stories that show the true power of Shared Lives, such as that of Anna and Carol, a Shared Lives match who feel like sisters. As Anna says:

 “We all need people around us. It’s important to have someone to look after and someone who looks after you. If anything happens there’s someone to share it with, someone to live life with. Before I felt so isolated. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t go anywhere."

With the right support and investment, like that which has seen Shared Lives grow by 8% and 13% in leading areas, Shared Lives could create postive outcomes like the ones Anna and Carol have enjoyed, for up to 55,000 older people in Wales. We invite you to read the full story of Shared Lives in Wales below, in English or Welsh.





Rachel TurnerRachel Turner, Shared Lives Ambassador spoke at the Learning Disability and Autism conference in Manchester. Here's her moving speech and presentation:

"I am a citizen, a Disney fan, a self-advocate, a Manchester United supporter. I have Asperger’s syndrome, and, in case you were wondering. Yes, I am transgender.

I was a bit worried about telling you that, but I think these days people are more broad-minded than they used to be, so I’ll say it again.

I SUPPORT MAN U and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The point is I’m not just a Man U fan or a person who has Asperger’s. I’m lots of different things all at once. I know that is sort of obvious but sometimes it is important to talk about the obvious.

I have learnt it is important because sometimes people look at me and make assumptions about what I can do depending on what version of me they see.

Sometimes people see Rachel the self-advocate doing things like this and they make an assumption that I must be really confident and able to do lots of things.

Making assumptions means deciding something is true without any proof.

With people who have an obvious disability the assumption is often that they can’t do something.

With me. It’s the other way around.

I feel that most of the time when I’m getting judged, people probably think I can do lots of things, and lots of times I can.

The difference is, for me to do the things I do, I need to have support, and it must be the right support from someone who knows me well. For example:

Today is all about promoting positive outcomes for people who have learning disabilities and autism

To be honest I didn’t really know what that meant. I do now, sort of because I asked my boss and my boss is usually quite good at knowing how to help me understand things.

She knows I love Disney, me. So, when she was helping me think about what I wanted to say, instead of talking about positive outcomes we talked about stories with happy endings. That’s why today I am going to tell you what I hope will be a happy ever after story.

My story starts with me being brought up in care.

It’s called being looked after now. Lots of you work in social care and health and lots of you have probably spent time thinking about the effect being looked after has on people like me.

I won’t make a judgement about what your thinking is. I’ll just tell you some of the practical ways it has affected me.

It means I don’t have a load of people who really understand me that I can fall back on who can help me.

It means that if I think about the future I get scared my story won’t have a happy ending.

It means that people are paid to help me. And when people are paid to help you, you get scared that the help will be taken away. It feels like you are going to be neglected.

You know when you’ve got nobody.

It means that I am independent, and I am learning to be more independent and I’m proud about that.

But it also means that I haven’t learnt a lot of stuff that you need to know.

You know like a light bulb. I don’t know anything about light bulbs at all me. You might think, well that’s an easy one to sort out. All that’s needed is for a support worker to help Rachel to learn.

That’s how social workers think. No disrespect to social workers or anything but in my experience most social workers would just think Rachel needs to learn about light bulbs.

They would think “I know I’ll write a support plan. I’ll make it person centred. I’ll break down the job into little steps that Rachel can learn and then she’ll know all about light bulbs”. But the thing is, for me it’s not that simple. For me, a light bulb is just a light bulb.

It’s nothing interesting to me. It’s not like Disney or Man U. It doesn’t interest me so for me there’s no point in learning. It doesn’t matter how many steps it is broken into. It is still just a light bulb.

It’s hard to explain. I’m not being awkward or difficult or funny. If it doesn’t interest me I can’t learn. I think that might be to do with the me that has Asperger’s.

That’s the sort of thing support workers get funny about. They don’t get it. I don’t ask them for help because I know they think I should know about light bulbs.

It just means I get my girlfriend to sort it.

She knows about light bulbs.

Anyway, back to my story.

The best support I have ever had has been with Shared Lives and I want to be supported by Shared Lives carers again.

Shared Lives is where someone who needs support lives with or spends time with a Shared Lives carer, as part of their family, friends and community.

I heard about Shared Lives from my Leaving Care worker – Becky – who said it was an option for leaving the fostering family I was with. She said it would help me become more independent.

I was told it was a way of getting ready for Supported Living. I felt like this was just another place I had to go – I felt like I just had to get on with it. I knew I had to move but I didn’t really know what Shared Lives was.

I moved in with Richard, a Shared Lives carer, in September 2011. It was the week Manchester United beat Leeds United. The score was 3-0 to Manchester United.

Before I moved in I met Richard to make sure I was happy and to make sure he was too. I moved in on a Thursday, it wasn’t raining. It was a hard day as a lot of my stuff had to be stored.

I lived with Richard until 17th of May 2012. I learnt how to do shopping, Richard would show me which bills I had to pay, one meal I learnt to cook was sweet and sour chicken with rice! My time with Richard was good. I felt confident to move to Supported Living.

My time in Supported Living wasn’t so good. But the thing that made the most difference to my life were the two Shared Lives carers – Sharon and Sylvana – who supported me during the day time and helped me become more independent and get out and about.

I moved to my own flat in 2015. Both helped me move and helped me sort out bills. I had problems with payment for my rent which Sylvana helped with. I learnt how to make pizza from scratch with Sharon. Sharon and Sylvana both like bargains – they helped me save money and eat healthily.

Sylvana helped me give up fizzy pop. She showed me how to look at food labels. It took some time to get off fizzy pop. I don’t drink it now except for when I have a mocktail.

The best day I had with Sharon was a visit to Coronation Street.

I liked learning about life from Sharon and Sylvana – they knew me, they made learning interesting, I trusted them, they helped me solve problems, just like I was part of their family. That’s the thing about Shared Lives you see.

You can build proper relationships with people and they are actually allowed to care.

Apart from the relationship I had with Sylvana and Sharon the most important thing I got from being supported by them was consistency.

Then in 2016 I started working for Shared Lives Plus as an Ambassador. I started to help other people learn about Shared Lives.
In my role as an Ambassador I speak at events (just like this one), I sit on interview panels for new Shared Lives carers. I took part in a research project with Kent University to understand how effective Shared Lives is for other people.

I enjoy using my skills and experience. My latest achievement is when I was doing some training with Samantha from learning disability England. I changed trains 4 times by myself. It took 5 trains to get to the venue in Stourbridge – I was proud of myself for doing that.

So, I still work for Shared Lives Plus but I don’t get support from Shared Lives carers any more, though I want to.

The thing is with social care is sometimes people assume that for a life to be good it must be all about moving on, moving forward.
I have moved on in lots of ways that are good. Like doing my job.

I now live completely on my own in a flat. I get support from a support agency. This has not been so good.

It has not been good because I get no choice in who comes to support me and there is no consistency in the support I get.

When I first said I wanted to be supported by Shared Lives again I was told I couldn’t because this would be a backwards step.

In the past I might have just said nothing and got low and got ill, but I am confident to speak up now.

I have learnt that I can do what I do because I am supported, not because support is taken away.

It has taken time, but I am being listened to now. I might go back to Shared Lives if I can find a Shared Lives carer who is right for me or I might get a PA.

The important thing is I have learnt that I have a right to be supported in the way that is right for me.

I have learnt that I don’t just to have to put up with stuff, that I am not completely on my own and that I do have people in my life who care about me.

For example, when I was living on my own in a flat in a bad area and I was scared to go home because of the lads hanging round my front door. The only people who helped funnily enough where the ones who weren’t getting paid.

My neighbours helped me, they said I shouldn’t have to put up with it.

Up until when I left I had a neighbour who made sure nobody did anything bad to me. He looked out for me.

I’m still in contact with him.

Other neighbours made sure I got home safe. Seems to happen a lot. The people who don’t get paid, help. The others don’t.

The problem I think was the people getting paid thought I was making a fuss about nothing.

They looked at me and thought I should be able to look after myself. The police said it was down to the housing association, the housing association said it was down to the police, so nobody helped me.

It was kind of the same when I decided to transition

The social workers and the doctors thought I didn’t know what I wanted because I have Asperger’s. When I first told them they didn’t seem right pleased. When I was trying to sort out things like hormone tablets the GP said he couldn’t do it and that I’d have to go to a clinic in Leeds. The Leeds clinic said I’d have to go to my GP and they kept sending me backwards and forwards.

I think the expression is going from pillar to post.

And the thing that has the most bad effect on me in the world is when I don’t know what is happening and I am dealing with loads of new things.
Sometimes it feels like the people who are paid to do a job are so scared of doing the job wrong that they don’t do it at all. That makes you feel that they don’t care.

My neighbours helped because they cared. Sylvana and Sharon did get paid but most of what they did for me was on top of their job if you like. They could do that because in Shared Lives carers are allowed to actually care.

People in my work have become like friends and they help me not because it is part of their job but because they care.

It’s funny isn’t it how some support is paid support and that support is not always good. It’s like they are a being paid to care but not actually caring.

So, what would help me my story have a happy ending?

One of the most important things for me is having help to understand how the world works, or help with the stuff that just makes no sense to me.

Like light bulbs or insurance or having to pay for water. I don’t mean the water that comes in a bottle. I mean the water that comes out of the tap.

One of the ways I learn how to live my life is by looking at people I admire like Alex Ferguson or characters in Disney.

My favourite Disney characters are Aladdin, Ariel out of little mermaid and Pocahontas. They are never afraid of anybody. Not even of their fathers. They go and rescue their partners, their friends until their mission is accomplished and they live happily ever after. They always kind of in my mind win the challenge and they have taught me never to lose heart and give up.

My favourite year for Man U is the 2002-2003 season because by November they were 9 points behind Arsenal with Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal still to play. The players started to challenge to try to get the trophy back. They won over 3 games but then lost to Middlesbrough on Boxing day. Then even though they were 7 points behind Arsenal. Out of the last 18 games they won 15 drawn 3 and lost none. Even though they went out of some cup competitions they went on to beat Liverpool and Newcastle and got their trophy back.

So despite having a big mountain to climb they went for it. That story shows its important to not give up. To keep challenging EVERYTHING and to have the belief that you can achieve ANYTHING.

So, I do believe that people who have learning disability and autism and Asperger’s can live happily ever after.

I want all of you from NHS and care and everyone else who is here, to believe in us too and to never give up until our stories have happy endings.The things I would say to all of you when you are helping people like me are: 

  • Don’t make assumptions about who we are and what we can do based on us having learning disabilities or Autism.
    We might have some things in common, but we are a lot more than a set of symptoms. You can use some of the things we have in common to help you learn how best to support us, but don’t get lazy and think that means we are all the same.
  • Get to know us and the people who know us best.
  • Ask us how we want to be helped and take the time to understand what it is we are really saying.
  • Be consistent. If you say you are going to do something, then do it.
  • NHS bosses you have promised that you are making learning disability and autism a priority in your plan.Have you told all the NHS? Have you? Have you told all the other professionals in social care this yet? What I don’t want is you promising it but no-one else sticking to it. For it to happen they must agree to it and really believe in it. I am guessing when you made your promise you meant you are making people who have learning disability and autism a priority. 

I know none of you have a magic lamp but, if you talk to us and listen to us. If you understand us and believe in us, you might find out what a happy ending looks like for us as individuals. 

Then if you do the same with each other. I mean health and social care talking to each other, listening to each other, understanding each other, believing in each other.

Maybe if you can do that.

That will help all our stories have happy endings.

In this fantastic speech from our Scottish parliamentary reception, Shared Lives carer Louise told the story of her life together with Abby. If you would like to share the story of your Shared Life with us, get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Louise Kennedy, and along with my husband Andrew, I have been involved with Shared Lives since 2005,that of course was in the days where we were under the Adult Placement Scheme, and at that time, we did respite care, which we found very rewarding.

However, in 2009 our lives changed forever when we were given the opportunity of having a young lady come to live with us on a permanent basis. The young lady in question was our wonderful Abby. There were no slow and gradual introductions, as is usually the case. Abby arrived like tornado in our lives. The only way I can describe it is ‘falling into each other’. My husband and I have never been parents, and all of a sudden, we had a lively 19-year-old exploding into our lives. Something clicked straight away, and the three of us have never looked back.

I’m not going to pretend we’re The Waltons, we’re three strong personalities sharing a home, and of course there’s going to be bumps along the way, but these are part of family life, and we’re very much a family. Abby is unique and meeting her is a once in a lifetime experience! She makes an impact on all those that she meets. To know her is to love her.

I recall a time when we were out walking our dogs. I’d nipped into our local toilets to use the loo, and I could hear Abby talking to someone. The next thing I heard was Abby saying, ‘so tell me, do you enjoy being a nun?’ I didn’t know whether to hide in the toilets or not! However, I joined Abby, just in time to hear her telling the two nuns how much she’d enjoyed the film ‘Sister Act’. I managed to introduce myself, but the two nuns were too enthralled by Abby that they barely noticed me. By the end of her conversation, Abby had the two nuns singing a ‘rap’ version of a hymn and giggling their heads off. It’s part of the joy and beauty of Abby that she can talk to anyone whatever their status in life.

It’s not just us who teach Abby life skills, she teaches us every day, and we are enriched to have her in our lives. She is very much part of our family and is a vital part of family gatherings. We live in a small, close knit community and all the locals know Abby and look out for her. This enables Abby to have freedom without us constantly breathing down her neck. Abby enjoys socialising with her friends at the local pubs, and we can relax, knowing she’s with her peers.

Shared Lives is very enriching and rewarding, it’s not a job, it’s a way of life. I would say to anyone considering being a Shared Lives Carer, do it, take the leap, your whole life will change beyond recognition, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gillian, Anne and in particular Louise from our scheme, for their never-ending support. I have nothing but praise for Louise, and she certainly makes our role a lot easier, she’s a cracking lady.

Thank you for listening to me tonight.”

Hi my name is Archie, my wife Christine, and I are both Shared Lives’ carers. Christine is the primary carer and tonight I would like to share some of our experiences as Shared Lives carers. Just over 5 years ago we heard about Shared Lives through a charity called Cornerstone and for us it seemed the right thing for us.

Having the time and the space allowed us to open our lives and our home to offer those who not only needed support but a safe, loving, caring and nurturing environment to help find fulfilment and happiness in their lives, just to be like everyone else. Being a Shared Lives carer is not for everyone, but there are many others out there who would make excellent Shared Lives’ carers.

We have two young women who live with us and come from similar backgrounds, yet the effects of which have had very different impacts on their individual lives. Nothing prepares you for the changes that take place in home life as the dynamics of these new relationships take time to settle in. We quickly realised that this was a journey of discovery and that we needed to work together to achieve a harmonious family life.

 We adopted a teamwork approach, our motto being `Teamwork always works’. It sure works for Christine and the girls as I have three ladies telling me what to do. Driving in the car I not only have the `sat nav’ telling me where to go there are now three other voices giving directions. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because they have enriched our lives and that of our family. It opens up your eyes to people with a learning disability what they have to face just to get by each day, especially without the love and support of a caring and understanding family.

 We have also found new friends and support through the other Shared Lives carers and never have we felt alone in the journey through them, Cornerstone and Social Work who have been right there with us.

Support is one thing but unconditional love is where we all thrive. Unconditional love is if you like the x factor in what Shared Lives offers to those we care for, giving them the opportunity to reach whatever potential they are able to achieve, and it also challenges us to see life from their perspective.

 To give you an example of this: We have seen two young women slowly change from just travelling the system to finding a place where they belong and integration into normal family. Life. It gives them the confidence to try new experiences in a positive way, rather than the frustrations that come through being unable to cope. Shared Lives gives them a safe nurturing environment where they can learn from their mistakes just as we did growing up in a family home and also where possible to heal some of the hurt that life has inflicted on them. To quote from a well-known song, sung by Michael Ball `Love Changes Everything’.

In this brilliant short speech from our Scottish parliamentary reception, Abby talks about how her life turned round when she was matched with a loving pair of Shared Lives carers. If you would like to share your experiences of Shared Lives, get in touch with us – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Abby, I am 28 years old and I was born In Liverpool, my home life was unstable and I slept on peoples sofas, when I was 17 my auntie who lived in Scotland came and asked me to move in with her on the understanding that it’s going to be a short term arrangement, that’s when the social worker said there was a couple in Dunbar that were Shared Lives carers that would like someone to stay with them long-term.

“I have lived with Louise and Andrew for 9 years; it has changed my life forever by giving me stability, direction and hope for the future as before I didn’t have anybody and I had to fend for myself and I had no hope for my future and now I have been to college and I volunteer at a radio station and I also work in a local shop and am part of a gardening group.

“They are so kind and the best mum and dad that I could ask for and we have a Labradoodle called Albert who is like a brother to me and he is amazing.”

Tuesday, 12 February 2019 15:55

Celebrating Shared Lives in Scotland

On January 29th, Shared Lives carers, scheme members and members of Scottish Parliament gathered in Holyrood to celebrate Shared Lives in Scotland and the achievements of the Shared Lives community there over the last year.

Shared Lives is flourishing in Scotland. 320 Shared Lives carers in Scotland (46 more than last year) have shared their lives with 435 people who need support - which is 55, or 13%, more than last year. Our new annual report describes this growth, and how Shared Lives north of the border is leading the way in support for particular types of need –older people in Shared Lives have more than doubled in number, from 93 to 200.

This quality and specialisation was underlined in an independent report about Shared Lives support for people with dementia in Moray. It showed that Shared Lives helps people living with dementia with ongoing connectedness to their communities, increased emotional wellbeing and it can delay the need to move into residential care. We want other areas in Scotland – and beyond – to follow Moray’s lead!

Against this backdrop of success, Richard Lochhead MSP, the event sponsor, began the speaking and he was followed by the fantastic Louise and Abbey, a Shared Lives match who spoke about a shared life with strong personalities and a huge amount of love.

Louise said:

“It’s not just us who teach Abby life skills, she teaches us every day, and we are enriched to have her in our lives.”

(read Louise’s full speech here)

Abby said:

“it has changed my life forever. by giving me stability, direction and hope for the future as before I didn’t have anybody and I had to fend for myself and I had no hope for my future.”

(read Abby’s full speech here.)

After that Charlie Gracie, the social work consultant who wrote the report about Moray, described his experiences when researching for the report:

“It was the matching that was so impressive for people with dementia, the time spent really getting to know someone and what, and who, would be best for them."

Jane Mackie, the head of community care at Moray Council, reflected on the strategy and processes they had employed to achieve an improved quality of life for so many people living with dementia. She was followed by Archie, a Shared Lives carer with Cornerstone Shared Lives, who talked about Shared Lives’ ‘X-factor’ – unconditional love.

Archie Said:

“Shared Lives gives people a safe nurturing environment where they can learn from their mistakes just as we did growing up in a family home and also where possible, to heal some of the hurts that life has inflicted on them.”

(read Archie’s full speech here)

Finally Shared Lives Plus CEO Alex Fox ended the speeches by urging those with decision-making power in health and social care not to rest on their laurels after recent successes, and to continue to invest in Shared Lives.

Alex said:

“Shared Lives will always be based around a small family unit, but it shouldn’t be small in scale!”

It was a brilliant result for us to have a visible show of support from Members of Scottish parliament. We need funding and political support to achieve to achieve our goals and build on the good work we have seen this year. Five health and social care partnerships in Scotland are investigating creating new Shared Lives schemes – which is just as well because we want to double the number of people in Shared Lives in the next five years. This could save the public purse up to £5m per year.

If you are a Shared Lives carer in Scotland and would like to share your story – please get in touch!

If you are a professional working in health and social care in Scotland, and would like to know more – speak to Ben Hall, Shared Lives Plus development manager for Scotland: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are delighted to be able to share our executive summary report about the incredible growth of Shared Lives in Scotland over the last year.

The report provides a statistical breakdown of the number of Shared Lives carers and people being supported, as well as information about the demographics of support needs and different types of Shared Lives arrangements.

Salary: £37,650 to £40,653 (pro-rata for part time)
2 Permanent Positions. 1 Full Time (35 hours) & 1 Part-Time (17.5 hours)
Closing date: Sunday 10th March 2019
Area: London

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