• 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

The dates for Shared Lives week are set: from Friday 15th June to Sunday 23rd June. Shared Lives week is one of the best opportinities we have, for promoting and spreading awareness of the unique way of life that Shared Lives represents. At Shared Lives Plus we've been thinking hard about which theme this year's Shared Lives week should focus on, and as your membership organisation we've based these considerations on our conversations with you. 

Listening to your experiences of working and living as Shared Lives members, taking into account the tough landscape of social care in the UK currently and the fantastic work that has been done to grow and develop Shared Lives in spite of all the challenges, we have decided that Shared Lives week 2018 will be all about Fairness for our members.

Over the coming 8 weeks we will be creating and sharing a host of materials and resources with you and supporting you in arranging and making the most of local events, such as the Great Shared Lives picnic. We will also be working hard to campaign for greater fairness for our carer members. Watch this space. 

Friday, 06 April 2018 16:07

Solving the social care crisis

Alex FoxAlex Fox outsideAlex Fox, CEO, recently spoke with The Elder about how care like Shared Lives could help solve the social care crisis. 

In the interview, Alex explores how Shared Lives works. He explains that fostering healthy relationships is at the heart of person-centred care and talks about how alternative healthcare models could have far-reaching implications for social care.

 

 

Thursday, 29 March 2018 11:54

State of Shared Lives in Scotland 2018

We are delighted to be able to share an in depth review of the Shared Lives sector 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. 

But behind the statistics, it tells the stories of real people whose lives have been changed by being supported in a Shared Lives arrangement. 

The State of Shared Lives in Scotland 2018 paints a bright picture of the strength and robustness of Shared Lives in Scotland, where the model has grown again despite difficulties in the social care landscape. 

pdfState_of_Shared_Lives_in_Scotland_2018_LR.pdf

 

Babs Lewis, Wales Development Manager, recaps on a great day launching the State of Shared Lives in Wales Last week.

On Thursday March 22nd, Shared Lives carers from all over Wales and the people they support met up with Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Social Care, to launch our latest State of The Nation Wales Report. The Minister gave us a warm welcome, even sacrificing his lunch hour to see us when his meetings over-ran.

He’s a real supporter of Shared Lives and we look forward to working with him again this year. And before returning home Samantha Hall and her mum Llywela also managed to speak to the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and tell him all about the service.

They couldn’t have picked a better day, as along with the Report we also announced the new 100 Lives Campaign to provide more support to help older people stay independent. We’re hoping in the year to come many more Shared Lives carers and the people they support will get their Assembly Members backing for our campaign.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:46

Let's listen

Written by

In this blog, Ali Hall, Development Officer for Young People in Transition, responds to the second part of the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) review of children and young people. She thinks the findings are sobering but welcome, and call for the sort of approach that Shared Lives is well-placed to provide.

Last week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published ‘Are we listening?’, the phase two report of their review of children and young people’s mental health services. CQC were asked to conduct this review by the prime minister in January 2017. The phase one report summarises what is currently known about these services. The phase two report draws on evidence gathered through fieldwork in ten areas across England and conversations with around 1,400 people.

In December I reflected on how important it is for young people to access the right support at the right time. This has become even clearer through the second part of this review. It finds that “too many children and young people are only able to access care at a point of crisis”. If this is the case for young people in general, we know that young people with additional support needs or those without a strong network in place will struggle even more.

While there were examples of good practice, the report says that services “did not always work together effectively to provide timely and high-quality care” and makes a number of recommendations for national, regional and local action, one of which states: “National bodies including the Department of Health and Social Care, Health Education England, NHS England and NHS Improvement must recognise and build on the examples of good, person-centred care that exist, and to support people working locally so they can develop innovative approaches to high-quality care based on local need.”

The notion of person-centred care emerges as a key theme in this report and, as care professionals, we all know that we need to look at each person and their own particular needs. We even know it outside of our professional lives. After all, we’re adaptive creatures and we do this instinctively with family, friends and colleagues; one size never really fits all.

Yet this is so often the approach taken when it comes to social care. And it’s one of the reasons why we sometimes fall short. In an area as important and personally unique as the mental health and wellbeing of young people, we need to get it right for each person and to do this we need to listen to them. We especially need to listen to them when we don’t get it right - so that we can make it better.

In Shared Lives, listening to a person’s needs and preferences is paramount to providing a secure, nurturing and empowering environment. Shared Lives is a model of care where adults and young people aged 16+ who need support and/or accommodation move in with or regularly visit an approved Shared Lives carer, once they have been matched for compatibility. Together, they share family and community life. This provides people with unique, tailored and flexible support for those with mental ill health as well as those with other support needs. It is a natural, holistic environment for someone recovering from mental ill health, but it also serves as a way of providing the tools young people need to avoid reaching that crisis point in the first place.

Although this report highlights that things aren’t good enough, it also brings clarity as part of its diagnosis. Therefore, it offers us the opportunity to make things better. What’s really reassuring, though, is to hear policymakers and political leaders saying the same thing as their experts on the ground - young people.

The report also says that local organisations must work together to deliver a clear ‘local offer’ of the care and support available to children and young people. Michael, an Ambassador of Shared Lives Plus, who lived in a Shared Lives arrangement in his early 20s agrees that this is crucial:

“It’s important to have one person that you can be comfortable with. My Shared Lives carer, Richard, would help me contact other professionals. Other forms of care have sent me to all kinds of people and it all got too much, I felt like I was chasing around for staff so I got fed up and just left it. It’s harder for people who don’t have a typical family structure because you don’t have anyone to help, so its lonely. Living in Shared Lives is good because you know the person really well and you can plan with them, so it helps with stress and anxiety”

At Shared Lives, we are working with young people in transition who have a wide spectrum of support needs, and often work with disabled children’s teams to find young people the best form of support for them. As complex as life is for teenagers, this can be even more challenging for disabled young people. Kira, 16, is the Chair of a youth board for national disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz and is a committed activist and campaigner for issues around youth mental health. She says:

There are many people that struggle to get help. Some are even reluctant to because of stigma. I think some disabled people struggle to accept that they not only face physical difficulties, but mental ones too. Family and friends play a large role in helping people with mental ill health. Just knowing that they are there can be a comfort and they can put you in touch with somebody who can offer professional help or support, even pastoral care at school or college. A young person might be mad at you for a short while for suggesting they get help, but in the end, they’ll be safe and thank you for making them take that extra step”

Listening to young people like Kira and Michael talk about their experiences and what they want and need to make their lives healthy and happy doesn’t sound radical. In fact, it actually sounds very ordinary. Indeed, it’s the same things I want. We all want to be somewhere safe, with people that love us and care, we want to be valued, have autonomy and we want to be listened to.

 We also want someone to step in now and then to say, “Let me give you a hand with this”. And we’re very grateful for those precious people in our lives who are close enough and trusted enough to do this. Sometimes they take the form of a parent, a mate, a partner and sometimes they take the form of a Shared Lives carer. They’re our people who see us heading for the iceberg and help us to steer and they’re the ones who help us when we occasionally run aground. And the truth is that no matter how strong and sorted we are, we all need one of these people from time to time.

 

Today, Shared Lives carers and the people they support are meeting Mr Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Social Services and Children, to launch the annual Shared Lives Cymru State of the Nation Report 2018 and announce the new 100 Lives Campaign to provide more support to help older people stay independent.

 

Shared Lives Plus, the membership organisation for Shared Lives carers and schemes, is looking for 100 capable and caring people willing to share their home and support to people who need a little help to live independently.

 

Just under 1,000 people in Wales are already Shared Lives carers, and an extra 100 people, would help the service break the thousand barrier to support more people, particularly those over 60 who need health support. Shared Lives – where someone who needs extra support visits or moves in with an approved Shared Lives carer - has transformed hundreds of people’s lives across Wales – and is especially valuable for older people who want to stay in the community they know and love.

 

45,000 people in Wales live with dementia[1] and the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 232,000 (36.6 per cent) between 2016 and 2041[2]. The need for choice and improved services for people with health challenges is a key part of Welsh Government policy.

 

Janet Williams, from Llanelli, became a Shared Lives carer and opened-up her home to Max. He’d lived in West Wales, but then had moved abroad for many years. He returned home when his dementia started making daily life difficult. He moved in with Janet Williams and Julie Rumbelow after a spell in his own flat. Janet, who met the Minister today, said, “Shared Lives helped us do an amazing thing. When Max arrived, he was in a dreadful state, but once he was with us, he settled down.

 

Max has since passed away, but Janet is passionate about encouraging others to take part in this unique scheme.

 

“We loved hearing his Max’s stories, having a laugh and getting out and about with him. It was a privilege to support him. The last few months were tough, but I’m so glad we did it. I would encourage anyone who has love to give to think about their commitment, but it was a real privilege.”  

 

Shared Lives Plus is looking for people with life experience and the capacity to care, to help someone else overcome obstacles and achieve their ambitions. Shared Lives carers are paid, but it is more a way of life, as they get a fixed amount and benefit from preferential tax arrangements. They can support someone with a health challenge, a learning disability or a person facing mental ill-health. Support can be given for as little as a day in their home or for a short-break, for a longer time for people recovering from hospital treatment or the support can be for life.

 

The eight Shared Lives schemes across Wales match Shared Lives carers and the people who want support to make sure they get on and want to share life together. The schemes are there every step of the way and offers guidance and training. Shared Lives has been going for 30 years in Wales and has recently received funding to expand for older people and also those coming home from hospital.

 

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care, said, “I am pleased that Shared Lives has grown across Wales over the last year. They are hugely valuable services that enables some of the most vulnerable people in our society to stay in their communities and benefit from a supportive family home environment.

 

I would like to thank the growing number of Shared Lives carers who open their homes and lives to people who need extra care and support. Your invaluable service makes a positive difference to people’s lives every day.”

 

 If more people are supported by Shared Lives carers, it could help to save more than £19 million – and evidence shows that people say they feel settled and valued as they maintain relationships and their independence.

 

To join the 100 lives campaign and for more information, please  call 0151 227 3499 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. telling us why you would make a good Shared Lives carer.

 


[1] http://gov.wales/newsroom/health-and-social-services/2018/dementia-care/?lang=en

[2] http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/national-population-projections/?lang=en

We are pleased to publish the State of the Nation report for Wales 2018. Despite significant and continuing budgetary pressures, Shared Lives has grown in Wales. 

The number of people being supported by Shared Lives has increased by 6%, and Shared Lives carers have increased by 15%. Several schemes, both independent and local authority run, are performing exceptionally well - leading the way in supporting older people or working within the innovative Health Initiative. The report describes the excellent work these schemes, with support from Welsh government, are doing - and describes the potential for Shared Lives to change many more lives and generate sognificant long-term cost savings to the social care budget. 

The executive summary provides a snapshot of the keymessages, whilst the full report gives a detailed breakdown of the state of Shared Lives in Wales.

pdfState_of_Shared_Lives_in_Wales_2018_-_Executive_Summary.pdf 

pdfState_of_Shared_Lives_in_Wales_2018_-_Executive_Summary_Welsh_language_version.pdf

pdfState_of_Shared_Lives_in_Wales__in_2018_Full_Report.pdf

pdfState_of_Shared_Lives_in_Wales_in_2018_Full_report_Welsh_language_version.pdf

Alex Fox and Simon StevensSimon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, hailed Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus' new book 'a wake up call' for health and social care services. Launched on Wednesday 28 January at innovation foundation Nesta, over 70 people overcame blizzard conditions to hear Halima Khan, Executive Director in conversation with Alex Fox and Simon Stevens. 'A new health and social care system: escaping the invisible asylum' says that values behind Shared Lives and Homeshare "are still shockingly radical, but feel entirely natural".

Stevens, said the book is a provocation for the kind of services that currently exist, as well as carefully demonstrating the practical ways that health and social care can be more human in future. 

'A new health and social care system: escaping the invisible asylum' looks at our public services through the lens of more human ways of supporting people such as Shared Lives, now used by thousands of UK people. It brings into visibility the ways in which we inadvertently squander the potential of people with long-term support needs and the creativity and caring capacity of families and front-line workers. It shows that the beliefs, rules and economics of our public services are entrenching the wrong approaches.

How do we find sustainable and human ways to care for people with long-term needs?  Why are public service approaches so often found to be letting down disabled and older people and creating toxic environments in which well-motivated people feel under pressure to do the wrong thing?

Drawing on the ethos, practices and economics of new and emerging approaches, the book goes on to propose a new model for public services to replace the ‘invisible asylum.’ It argues that our new care and health system will be focused on achieving and maintaining wellbeing, rather than on reacting to crisis or attempting to ‘fix’ people. It will connect people and be prepared to measure its harm as well as the good it does. It will need to ask more of us as well as offering more. Responsibilities, resources, and risks will be more fairly and transparently shared between citizens, families and services. The book offers steps which all of us could take to achieve this vision.

Watch the launch through the recorded live stream

 

Order your copy of A new health and care system: escaping the invisible asylum. It was published on 28 February 2018 by Policy Press and launched at Nesta in London and at a seminar at Manchester Metropolitan University’s MetroPolis

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 15:38

Domestic abuse affects one in four women

Written by

Natalie Blagrove croppedDomestic abuse is prevalent; one in four women and one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse in their life time. Finding the right place to live can be a huge challenge for victims and survivors: finding housing, keeping it, ensuring it’s safe and appropriate. 

I’m Natalie and I currently work for a national domestic abuse charity called SafeLives. I have worked in the domestic abuse sector for over ten years and I’ve just been seconded to Shared Lives Plus to work on a new domestic abuse project. Funded by the ‘tampon tax’, we’re going to be working in partnership over the next two years to provide an alternative accommodation option to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We know that housing issues can place a massive barrier in the way of victims, either when trying to leave an abusive relationship or when trying to move on from previous abuse.

We want to be able to offer an additional option to women; a new innovative project that increases their choice as well as their safety.

We hope that one answer to this is Shared Lives. Someone in need - any need – could live in a safe and secure home, where they can see what a healthy relationship looks like, modelled day-to-day by their Shared Lives carers. Shared Lives has been used in the past by people with learning disabilities and others who have been victims of abuse and we are confident that it could also help people who have experienced domestic abuse.

Over the next few weeks, I’m looking for three Shared Lives schemes to act as ‘demonstrator sites’ for this new idea and if you are interested, please let me know. We will be working closely with domestic abuse services, partner agencies, schemes and carers. And, the most important people, victims and service users – that’s a lot of people to talk to!

This is a hugely interesting project and I’m incredibly excited to be part of it; being able to give victims as much choice as possible, helping them build better lives for themselves and their families, can only be a good thing. You might have questions about how this will work, how it will be funded, how risk will be managed…I’m more than happy to be contacted with any questions so please do get in touch if this sounds like an innovation you’d be interested in getting involved in:

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

Care Rooms, a scheme where people leaving hospital can pay for a spare room, kitted out with the latest technology, in someone's house is in the news after re-launching in Cambridgeshire. It sounds similar to Shared Lives, but there are key differences in the models.

Wales at home editAlex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus, says, “We know that the NHS is under extreme pressure and we strongly believe in innovative approaches designed with people who use them. We are delighted to be working with the NHS to explore how Shared Lives – with its 40 year history of supporting thousands of people with long-term support needs – can be used in a ground-breaking approach for people leaving hospital.

Care Rooms has been compared to Shared Lives, but there are some very significant distinctions. As a charity, we have always been focussed on creating supportive relationships between people which they choose, strengthening their mutual wellbeing and connection to each other and their communities – one of our greatest health needs. Shared Lives is rated the safest of all UK social care services according to the Care Quality Commission.

Over 10,000 trained and approved Shared Lives carers in nearly every area of the UK have opened up their homes and community lives to share with someone – leading to extraordinarily ordinary lives for thousands of people who need support ranging from mental ill health, learning disabilities, dementia and domestic abuse. Everyone involved chooses who to share their lives with. Through Homeshare schemes, we also support around 400 mainly older people who want to give something back and have a spare room. Homeshare is a compassionate way to offer people on a lower wage a start in life and the chance to learn new skills, in exchange for help around the home – keeping loneliness at bay.

Shared Lives has been tried and tested over our 40 year history. Over 150 CQC regulated local schemes consistently provide the safest form of care across all social care services. We have been backed by NHS England, Department of Health and seven CCGs with £1.75m to develop Shared Lives including to support people who have short and long-term health needs to recover from hospital in their own communities. We are excited about the potential to support many more people as they leave from hospital. We know that when people have chosen who they are going to share with, and are part of a family, they recover more quickly.

If you would like the extraordinary opportunity to transform your life and someone else’s - in your own home, please contact your local Shared Lives or Homeshare scheme, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0151 227 3499.”

To find out more about how Shared Lives can support your health - check out the key differences between Care Rooms and Shared Lives and our work in health with NHS England 

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