• 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

Lincolnshire County Council are re-procuring their Shared Lives services and are holding a Market engagement day on the 7th September 2017 and would like to invite existing and new Providers who are interested in delivering Shared Lives services within Lincolnshire. Please find attached the market engagement questionnaire to feed into the Specification of the future Shared Lives services in Lincolnshire. If you wish to engage with us on this please fill in the attached questionnaire and submit by the 14th September 2017.
Please find attached an Agenda for a face to face Market Engagement day on the 7th September 2017. If you haven't already expressed an interest can you please respond via the portal   https://procontract.due-north.com/Login  with your intention to attend this day.
Welsh Assembly Shadow Social Service Spokesperson, Suzy Davies, found out first-hand this week about the fantastic support Shared Lives is providing in her constituency. Suzy, who is AM for South West Wales, met 72-year-old Vernon in the Swansea home he’s shared with Shared Lives carer Margaret Millson for 16 years.
Vernon, who will soon be celebrating his 73rd birthday, lives an active life in the community with support from Margaret and her partner Eddie. He works in his local supermarket for a few hours a week, and gets out and about regularly thanks to his free bus pass. Vernon was taken into care aged just two and was looked after by Nuns in Swansea until the late 1990s, when he moved to a residential home. The move didn’t suit him at all and he didn’t thrive there, so Swansea social services suggested Shared Lives. Vernon hasn’t looked back!
Over coffee and biscuits he told Ms Davies, an active campaigner for stronger communities, all about Shared Lives and what the service meant to him. But they discovered they shared another passion – a love of the city of Swansea. Ms Davies grew up there and it wasn’t long before the two were happily sharing reminiscences and talking about all the changes they’ve seen over the years!
The visit was a real eye-opener for Ms Davies, and she was able to see first-hand how Shared Lives helps people live active, fulfilling lives in the heart of their communities. She also got an insight into what makes a Shared Lives carer.

Margaret along with her partner Eddie have been Shared Lives carers for around 18 years now, supporting Vernon since 2001.  Margaret had worked as an Auxiliary Nurse before moving to Swansea and becoming a Shared Lives carer.  Along with Vernon, she’s also provided long-term support and short-breaks to other people who need just a little help to stay independent and active.
The visit was organised as part of Wales Shared Lives Development Team’s work connecting Shared Lives carers and the people they support to local politicians. The aim is to make sure politicians see first-hand the great work Shared Lives is doing in their constituency.
Thursday, 20 July 2017 10:45


Written by

Participating in scheme but no carers offering holidays at present please.



    • Innovative and growing form of care passes “Mum Test” with flying colours according to Chief Inspector
    • CQC 3 year “State of adult social care services report” focuses on Shared Lives as showing strong leadership, positivity, with an open and transparent culture, and users well supported
    • 91% of Shared Lives schemes inspected were rated “good or outstanding” beating the care sector average of 79%
    • Government must now invest in Shared Lives to make sure all areas can reach level of the best says Charity Chief

Shared Lives Plus, the UK Network for Shared Lives and Homeshare, has today welcomed findings from the Care Quality Commission that show the Shared Lives model of care as leading the sector in terms of performance.

The Care Quality Commission’s “State of adult social care services 2014 -17” report illustrates initial findings from their programme of comprehensive inspections into Adult social care, and Shared Lives comes out top of the class – securing a special focus in the report after 91% of its schemes were rated as good or outstanding – with none inadequate.

Overall, even with the inclusion of Shared LIves, the care sector only secured 79% good or outstanding ratings, with some other forms of care performing consistently lower overall.

Chief Inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe highlights how the “Mum Test”* has guided the work of the CQC over the relevant period – and the report findings show Shared Lives consistently meeting these ambitions, with leadership, transparency, high quality support and positivity key elements of the approach.

Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus, Alex Fox OBE said:

“As the inspectors’ three year report highlights, Shared Lives services are particularly caring and responsive, and this enables Shared Lives carers and the people who live with or visit them to achieve incredible things, which other services don’t think are possible.”

“There are currently no inadequate Shared Lives schemes in the whole of England and none requiring improvement on the caring rating. 91% are good or outstanding.”

“There is a Shared Lives scheme in almost every part of the UK, but some are tiny. Government should invest now to ensure that all reach the scale of the Lancashire scheme, supporting hundreds of people. This would increase the number of people using Shared Lives from just under 12,000 in England to well over 30,000, saving millions whilst offering people happier, safer lives”

Alex added:

“The government’s planned consultation on care cannot focus only on its funding: it must also look at how that money could be better spent.”

 “I’d like to thank everyone in the Shared Lives family for all they have done to secure these excellent results. As the UK network representing Shared Lives, we will now use this fantastic report as further evidence of the value of Shared Lives, and continue to push the government to work with us, and local schemes, to make this amazing approach to care available to all who could benefit.”


*The report cites the Mum Test as being ""To make sure that our regulatory approach is truly personalised, I want us to consider for every service we look at - is this good enough for my Mum (or any other member of my family)? If it is, that is fantastic. If it's not then we need to do something about it."

Notes for Editors:

    • For more information or to arrange an interview with a representative of Shared Lives Plus, please contact Tim Moore, Communications Manager on 07881 521269
    • Shared Lives schemes operate across all areas of the UK. The jurisdiction of the Care Quality Commission covers England only with other bodies performing the regulatory function.

2017 started well for me - a new job with Shared Lives Plus – as Regional Officer for the NHS England funded programme. With the overstretched NHS in the news almost every day, it seemed an ideal time to be part of a project, exploring alternatives to traditional hospital and/or residential care for people with health needs. The idea that health and happiness are interlinked may be radical for the NHS, but for most of us it is obvious that a good home and living situation will improve your health and well-being.

In January, I met with colleagues from Shared Lives Plus, along with Shared Lives carers and ambassadors at our Awayday in Liverpool. I was struck by the positive energy, skills and commitment in the room. I went away wondering why the Shared Lives model is so little known about, when it can offer so much to Shared Lives carers, families, people in Shared Lives and health and social care providers, as well as to the wider communities in which we all live.

Since then, I’ve been finding how hard everybody involved in Shared Lives works to be able to offer and nurture these unique arrangements. I’ve started to understand the resources and skills we have in Shared Lives scheme staff, Shared Lives carers and the people who use Shared Lives. The Shared Lives Plus report A Shared Life is a Healthy Life illustrates the many health benefits of living in a Shared Lives arrangement, and shows how many Shared Lives carers already support people’s health needs day to day, as they would a family member. The knowledge and expertise that Shared Lives carers have built up in this way, is a resource that we will need to draw upon to develop the work of the NHS programme. For example, one Shared Lives carer in North Somerset produced her own list of do’s and dont’s based on her experiences of people with dementia. We hope to involve experienced and proactive carers like this in peer training where good practice is shared.

Recognising and valuing the contribution of our experts by experience, and ensuring that this project is co-created by people with understanding and knowledge from the ‘bottom up’ will be important to ensure the success of our NHS programme. This is not just about doing something new, but involves doing more of what we do already, and shining a spotlight on what Shared Lives arrangements are capable of in terms of peoples’ health. Shared Lives recognises the strengths of people and communities and I think it embodies the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. ABCD sees individuals and citizens as producers of health and wellbeing within the community, rather than as recipients of services. This is a different approach to traditional health and social care services because it asks the question ‘what makes us healthy?’ rather than ‘what makes us ill?’

Shared Lives Plus has received funding for this project from NHS England, and we are currently working with five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as part of the match funded programme (there are more to come). The hard reality is that NHS England and the CCGs will want to see savings to the NHS budget arising from their investment in Shared Lives; and we have appointed our evaluators (the New Economics Foundation) to help us with this. I’ve been discovering more about the inside workings of the NHS from attending CCG meetings, learning about integrated care services, commissioning, health budgets, referral and care pathways. I’ve been finding that the NHS is awash with jargon –abbreviations bounce around in these meetings until your head is spinning. To calm my nerves I have produced a short jargon buster for people in Shared Lives new to the NHS. I referred to a very helpful and much longer jargon buster produced by Think Local Act Personal . See link(https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Browse/Informationandadvice/CareandSupportJargonBuster/)

Definitions and language are important, but I’ve also been discovering that the right words are not always followed by the right actions. The NHS seems committed at policy level to person centred care and support building on peoples assets, but the reality is that health and social care services and funding streams are not as flexible and integrated as they might appear and the focus remains on services to fix problems. We all need to be careful of assuming that real change will follow good intentions. This is why we need the input of the people on the ground who can tell us what they know and what they need and how and if change is being delivered and experienced.

I look forward to meeting more Shared Lives scheme workers, Shared Lives carers and people who use Shared Lives in the coming months, as we steer our way together through uncharted waters in this exciting project.

Geraldine (Gerry) Cooney


This blog was written by Geraldine Cooney, NHS Programme Regional Officer, for Shared Lives Plus.

Monday, 03 July 2017 14:19

Maggie's story

Maggie who uses Shared Lives services recently asked her Shared Lives carer to write in to us and share her story. We hope you enjoy reading Maggie's story and looking at her pictures. This story is a great example of the positive impact Shared Lives can have on people's lives who have support needs and are looking to become a part of and living in a family enviroment instead of traditional forms of care.

“Hello, my name is Maggie and I have been living in Shared Lives for two years. I have really enjoyed my time being in a family and have made lots of new friends. I have also loved learning new skills, and trying out new things. This is the first time I have rode a horse and it was absolutely brilliant. I now go to eazyfit and the Odell centre, I also go to discos to see my friends. What I do love about Droitwich, is the band in the park in the summer. I have learnt how to cook with the help of my Shared Lives carers, Jackie and Kevin, and I enjoy preparing meals.  Another bonus to living in Shared Lives is that I have been enjoying trips out and holidays. I have been to Lanzarote and this year we went to Portugal. Other places I have visited have been Blackpool, Coronation Street, BGT, Ironbridge, SS Great Britain to name a few. It is brilliant to live as part of a family and share our lives.”


Maggie 5 


shared lives weekThis year’s Shared Lives week has been full of events, raising awareness and celebrating the work of the whole Shared Lives family. Shared Lives carers, schemes, people who use Shared Lives services and Shared Lives Plus staff have been spreading the word throughout the country that Shared Lives should be a choice for all.

Shared Lives carers, scheme officers and guests from all over Wales gathered at The Senedd in Wales on Monday 19th June, for a very special Shared Lives week celebration. Around 80 people, including Social Services Minister, Rebecca Evans, Assembly Members, guests from Health Boards, key people from local authority social service departments, academics and third sector colleagues attended to hear about Shared Lives in Wales. The Minister met two people currently being supported by South East Wales new Health Initiative, as well as many others being supported by Shared Lives. She gave an inspiring endorsement of Shared Lives work in Wales. There was also another promotional event in Wales on the Thursday of Shared Lives Week organised by Shared Lives carers of the Powys Shared Lives group.

Nottinghamshire residents of a caring nature are being encouraged to consider becoming Shared Lives carers to offer long-term support or short breaks to vulnerable adults. 
The County Council currently has 58 Shared Lives carer households, which offer long-term accommodation and support or short breaks for older people, people with a physical or learning disability, or individuals with mental health needs. 
A further 20 households across the county who have availability in their home and are willing to offer support are needed, so more people can benefit from the scheme. 
All carers receive training and ongoing support and are paid according to the needs of the person or people who they care for. 
Terri-Ann Davies, 27, spends 28 days a year spread out as short breaks with Jean Bere who lives on a farm in Everton, Bassetlaw. 
Terri-Ann, who lives in Mansfield with her parents, is partially deaf and has a learning disability and Jean has been a Shared Lives carer for three years. 
Father Gary explains “Shared Lives is a godsend. Terri-Ann stays over at a proper working farm so experiences different things to when she is at home with us and loves all of the animals there. 
It’s an unwinding, relaxing break for her and gives us time to do things we aren’t able to do when Terri-Ann is around. We are going away to play French boules in Jersey during our next break.” 
Terri-Ann said: “I have been to many different places with Shared Lives but meeting Jean and her family is the best I’ve done. We do things like feed the animals and collect the eggs from the chickens in the woods and when I stay for a longer period of time, we do other things. The only downside of the farm is getting up so early because I like my bed!
When I’m away from home I know Mum and Dad get worried but it is reassuring for them to know I’m safe and happy.” 
Jean said: “We moved to the farm four years ago and being closer to nature is very therapeutic so I wanted to share this with other people. 
I have an agricultural degree and have previously worked with people with autism in a care home, so Shared Lives seemed the perfect challenge for me and the farm. 
I get just as much out of it as Terri-Ann, as it is so rewarding to see her grow in confidence and she has a great sense of humour and a lively character. She helps out on the farm, but we also do other fun activities like swimming and baking cakes. 
As Terri-Ann is in a different environment I think she is more willing to try new things, develop her skills and she is a real joy to be around."
I have enjoyed looking after two other young people as part of the scheme and I’m looking forward to having another person to stay at the farm in the coming months.” 
Helen Hall, Senior Shared Lives Coordinator at the Council, said: “Jean does a fantastic job supporting Terri-Ann but you don’t have to have a farm to be a Shared Lives carer. 
You just need room in your home and sometime to support a person with a disability or an older person and the arrangements can range from a couple of weekends a year to offering a longer-term home.” 
Nottinghamshire 1
Anyone who is interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer can visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sharedlives, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0300 500 80 80. 

Emma and Tommy O’Connor receive MBE for 50 years of caring.

“It was a shock, you do what you do for the love of it. The Doctor’s at our local Silkworth health centre put us forward for the MBE. The Doctor’s held a big party for me and Tommy, it was a lovely surprise. All our family were there- and the children we had brought up over the years in fostering. We gave the Doctor’s a photograph of us with the queen, it’s up in the health centre, Tommy and I getting our MBE’s.”
Emma and Tommy O’Connor, from Silkworth in Sunderland, who have been married for 57 years have been recently honoured with a MBE for over 50 years of caring.
The couple who became Foster carers in 1968, eight years after getting married, were among the list of nominees being honoured by the Queen. Emma and Tommy have been honoured for over 50 years of care, as Foster Carers and their current role as Shared Lives carers.
Emma and Tommy have looked after two ladies from when they were three and five months old. They became Shared Lives carers so they could continue to support Silvia and Margret into adult life.
Emma said: “It was lovely, the queen presented it, and she spoke to me for ages, she was so down to earth. The Queen asked us how long you think you’ll be caring for? Tommy said how long is a piece of string? The Queen burst out laughing.”
Unfortunately, one of the ladies they supported passed away, Silvia died at 36, she had severe difficulties, Emma and Tommy had fostered her from three months old. They became Shared Lives carers when Shared Lives first started so they could keep Silvia in the family.
We wanted to know why Emma chose Shared Lives, she said: “Because I had the ladies that long, and they didn’t want to move on. They’re part of the family, you can’t tell them to move on, and you help them, that’s what you do. It is very difficult to get people with special needs placed, we knew them and we wanted them to be safe.”
After becoming Shared Lives carers to support Silvia into adulthood, Emma and Tommy naturally became Shared Lives carers for Margret.
Emma said: “Margret bakes, makes cup of teas, she loves water and bubbles so you have to watch her, but she has come on loads, we’re really proud of her. We treat them like our own, they are our own- and we really love them like our own. Margret is doing work experience at a garden centre at the moment, we take her.  She left her IPad at the centre recently, Tommy offered to take her over the next day to get it. Margret ended up getting two buses by herself that day, there and back, I was over the moon and so proud- but I told her that Tommy would have taken her.”
We asked Emma and Tommy what is the secret to caring and supporting people for over 50 years, from childhood into their adult life.
Emma said: “It makes a big difference if you’re helping them all you can, and steering them in the right direction, we teach them as much as we can- and to be independent. You have to treat the people you support like your own, part of the family. I miss Silvia so much, the day centre she used to go to made us a lovely teddy bear and cushion from clothes she had left there before she passed away,  and  a polar neck she wore, it said ‘ A hug when you need it’, they thought the world of her.”
Shared Lives Plus would like to thank Emma and Tommy for sharing their story with us and congratulate them on their amazing recognition for their services to care for the last 50 years.
We are delighted to share Leanne's story today with everyone. Leanne who uses Shared Lives services recently contacted us as she loves to tell stories. This is her inspiring Shared Lives story, we are all very proud of Leanne's achievements with Shared Lives and we would like to thank her for sharing her Shared Lives journey with us.
Leanne writes:
When I was asked to do this for Shared lives week it took me a while to write, not because I didn’t want to write it, mostly because I didn’t know what to say. What do you say about the service, the shared lives carers who helped you to grow into the person you could only dream about four and a half years previous?
Anyone that knows me, will know that one of my favourite hobbies is to write stories and tell stories to anyone who will listen, so if you don’t mind, I would like to tell you one now…
It all began many years ago when I was 10 years old, I had this dream of becoming a social worker and despite my disabilities I worked as hard as I could (and sometimes not at all) throughout school and college in the hope of one day achieving my dream. –How is this all relevant you ask? Let me tell you…
 In the January of 2012, I was diagnosed with a rare medical condition on top of my already complicated disabilities. The condition took over my life and put a stop to my dream. Not only did I now have a medical condition, which I couldn’t control, I had increasing mental health issues. I don’t mind sharing, suicidal thoughts were becoming like an old friend of mine. My condition and my mental health state was putting enormous pressure on the relationships I had with my family. In the January of 2013, I found out just how much. I was admitted to hospital for what was supposed to be routine treatment, a few days later I was visited by a social worker who explained to me that due to a breakdown in the relationships between myself and my family, I was now homeless.
It took a lot of discussion between the social worker and I but I brought up the option of Shared Lives as I had heard about the support it offered to adults with additional needs.  Me being who I am, I was a little reluctant to become a part of the scheme as “I don’t need help” how wrong I was. In hindsight, I can truly say I didn’t realise how much help I needed until I’d had it.
On the 23rd of January 2013 I met Josephine, I can remember like it was yesterday, I was sat in my hospital bed trying to concentrate on what was being asked but all I could think was how this woman with the kindest smile and it seemed even kinder heart had made me feel the most human id felt in a long time. I was so distracted by this, I agreed to not liking cucumber… 4 years later and both Josephine and Paul, Josephine’s husband,  still believe I don’t like cucumber, when really I do. 
Anyway on the 24th,  I moved into the place I was only supposed to be staying “a few weeks.” A couple of months past and I’d found myself fitting in with Josephine and Paul’s lifestyle, even joining Blackpool Bears with the help of Josephine, but this wasn’t my greatest achievement. My greatest achievement in that first few months was the smallest of all things… getting on a bus. By myself. It sounds ridiculous, a what was 20 year old that had never been on a bus on her own before, but it was true. My mental health state was the biggest issue, my anxiety stopped me from doing almost everything, making me fear I was going to get something wrong, get lost or worst die. So that day when Josephine told me she was going to drop me off at my appointment and I would have to make my way back by bus myself I feared everything. Literally dreading the end of my appointment even though she had told me the exact route to use. To cut a long story short, I did it. I got on the bus and I got off at the right stop. Although it was a very small thing, I felt like I had achieved a lot. Yes the whole plan seems a little unorthodox to some people but Josephine knew that was the kind of approach that I needed and what a fantastic approach that was. I now spend half of my time on and off buses, and the other half it seems waiting for them….
Anyway that wasn’t the only breakthrough I’d had in the few months after id moved in, Paul had even talked me into going to see a counsellor and I found myself being able to open up to not only the counsellor but Josephine and Paul too. If there is one thing I can always count on is for at least one of them to show an interest in what I have to say. I say at least one because lets be fair to them I talk a lot now but I never really wanted to. That’s the point I’m getting at. When you have a mental health issue like I had, sometimes all you really need is someone to take notice, to listen and overall offer the help you didn’t think you wanted. I found that in them both.  They have offered me so much, in the way of offering me the space to express who I am, yes they might not agree with my loud music or my constant concert going, flying off to different countries, including America with nothing but my best friend for support,  but without the support from them in the first instance, like throwing me into the deep end and onto a bus I wouldn’t do these things.
In the beginning of this story I began by telling you about the dream I had of becoming a social worker and how it had all come to an end. Turns out that wasn’t the end. Thanks to    Josephine and Paul’s constant support with my physical conditions and my mental health  I was confident enough and motivated enough to return to education.  I started my social work degree in the September of 2013 only nine months after moving in with these two. Its been 4 years now and I’m just coming to the end of my degree, hoping to graduate in December with a first class honours degree in the one profession I’d dreamed of since being a child. I always get a little over emotional when I speak about this because over four years ago I would have never have dreamt I would be in this position and that is without a doubt down to the support and love I have received from being a part of shared lives. Josephine and Paul have given me back my self-confidence and self worth and a lot more besides. Without them I can truly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today. There is a quote from Harry potter, that I love that says “happiness can be found in the most darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light” -Albus Dumbledore. I love this because it reminds me of what they have done for me. They helped me turn on the light in my darkest times, with my depression and illness, when no one else could and through that, I was able to grow as a person and find happiness. True happiness.
I’ve learnt a lot whilst being here, like how to cook, how not to bake, how to clean and how not to… mostly how to avoid it, but most of all I’ve learnt so much about myself and for that I probably owe them everything.
I’ll be moving on soon, to a house of my own, and despite how far I may end up, because thanks to them, who knows, I’ll never forget what they have done for me.
This was a story about how a young girl, found the light with the help of two wonderful people and became a woman.
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