• 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.
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Questions and Answers

Liz and Gary close upThe Shared Lives Charter is a way for schemes and Shared Lives carers to talk about their practice and ensure they are inclusive, fair and diverse, where everyone is valued for the contribution they can make. It has been developed with Shared Lives carers and schemes.

We encourage Shared Lives carers, managers and commissioners to adapt this Charter and use it, together with the Quality Framework and The Ambassadors’ Test, to develop and improve their scheme, especially when there are any changes.

The Charter, The Ambassadors’ Test and the Quality Framework together set out what good looks like in Shared Lives. Our hope is that they will help to create an environment where individuals can be supported through Shared Lives to get the best care and support possible in order to live the life they choose.

Adapt the Shared Lives Charter with your scheme and Shared Lives carers - toolkit

Join the #Invaluable 2018 campaign 

 Flagship schemes using the Charter in 2018:

CVT Shared Lives West Midlands

“We are at a very exciting time in the development of CVT Shared Lives West Midlands Scheme and our aim is for us to be a service that people really want to be part of. We are signing up to the Shared Lives Plus Charter to demonstrate our commitment to the guiding principles, and our ethos of an open and transparent culture where everyone can be involved in developing the service. We will use the Charter’s principles as a tool to ensure we create an environment where individuals can be supported through Shared Lives to get the best care and support possible in order to live the life they choose.” 

Kate Morgan, Camphill Village Trust, Dudley

East Lothian Shared Lives

“We are excited about developing and expanding East Lothian Shared Lives service (currently known as the Adult Placement Service). We are signing up to the Shared Lives Plus Charters as we want to move forward demonstrating our firm belief in the guiding principles laid out in the Charter. We are committed to taking the Charter’s principles into account in all of the work that we do. As we grow and develop we are wanting to keep our focus on improving the experience of people who are part of Shared Lives arrangements and keeping them at the centre of all that we do. Signing up to the Charter represents our commitment to move forward in a positive way.” 

Gillian Neil, East Lothian Shared Lives scheme manager

Privacy Policy

Introduction and general terms

We take our responsibilities very seriously, about the personal data that is shared with us. We promise to keep this safe and secure and use it for the purposes for which it was collected and not do anything that wouldn’t be reasonably expected.

From Friday 25 May 2018 we will need your permission to contact you and in preparation for this we are moving to an “opt in” communication policy. This means that all our members will only be communicated to if they have expressly given their permission for us to do so via their preferred channel – post, email or telephone

This privacy policy explains the following:

  • What information Shared Lives Plus may collect about you

  • How we will use any information we have collected from you

  • When Shared Lives Plus may use your information to contact you

  • Whether Shared Lives Plus will disclose your information to anyone else

  • Your choices regarding the personal information you have provided to us

We are committed to safeguarding your personal information. Whenever you provide information such as this, we are legally obliged to use your information in line with all laws concerning the protection and security of personal information, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and the Privacy & Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

Who we are

Shared Lives Plus is a registered charity (Reg charity number -England and Wales -1095562 and in Scotland SC42743) and a company limited by guarantee (company number 4511426) Shared Lives Plus’s registered address is Room G04, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9JR.

What information will Shared Lives Plus collect about you?

We mainly collect information from our members for us to process your membership fee and ensure you are aware of all the benefits of your membership. One of the standard Shared Lives carer membership benefits is benefit advice and access to ‘ask the legal expert’. To assist your access to this we may pass your details to Jackson Canter Solicitors. As public liability insurance is included in the full Shared Lives carer membership we will pass your details onto Towergate Underwriting Insurance Group Ltd, we will only do that if you need to access this insurance.

If you would like to take advantage of our free will writing service we will pass your name and email address on to Ashbrook Legal Services, so that they can contact you to arrange an appointment. We will only do this if you ask us to.

This information we pass on may include your name, postal address, email address, telephone or mobile number.

We collect information from our Homeshare members to help us to process your memberships and to provide us with the information we need to ensure that your service is listed correctly on the Homeshare UK website.

Information about potential Householder and Homesharers is collected via the Homeshare UK website to enable us to ensure that Homeshare meets your needs and to put you in contact with your local scheme. We only pass on information you have provided to schemes operating in your area

How will Shared Lives Plus use this information?

We will use your information for the following:

  • To administer your membership or your sign up to our events.

  • To keep a record of your relationship with us

  • To enable us to record how you’d like to hear from us

  • To understand how we can keep improving our products, services and information

  • To ensure we are being compliant with various laws.

  • To occasionally invite you to participate in surveys from Shared Lives Plus so we can continually improve what we do

  • To help identify which Homeshare Schemes is operating in your chosen area and is best placed to meet your needs

  • To help us to build profiles of our members and potential Homeshare participants so we can better target our communications. From time to time we might use geographic, demographic and other information relating to you, so we can send you the most relevant pieces of mail.

Will you send me direct marketing?

If you give us your consent, then we will pass your details on to Towergate Insurance Ltd so that they can contact you regarding offers on household, travel and motor insurance tailored for Shared Lives carers. Occasionally we may include information in our newsletters and magazines from partner organisations. We do our best to make it easy for you to tell us how you’d like us to communicate with you. Our communications all have opt-out statements in them, and the opportunity to indicate your preferences. If you don’t want us to contact you, then we’re fine with that too. You can do so by using the unsubscribe button at the bottom of our emails or by ringing us on 0151 227 3499 or by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Do we sell your details on?

Absolutely not. We will never sell or share the information belonging to our members. Sometimes we run an event in partnership with a third party and to administer the event we will need to share the information with them but only if you have expressed an interest and we will always make this clear to you who your information will be shared with before we do anything with it and will respect your wishes if you decide not to participate.

How we keep your data safe and who has access to it

Your information is held on systems that are maintained and managed securely by Shared Lives Plus. We ensure that there are technical controls in place to protect your personal details.

We undertake regular reviews of who has access to information that we hold to ensure that your information is only accessible by appropriately trained staff.

We may need to disclose your details if required, to the police, regulatory bodies or legal advisors.

How long will Shared Lives Plus keep your personal data?

We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity.

Keeping your information up to date

It’s important to us to be able to keep your information up to date and as accurate as possible. This is part of our obligation to comply with data protection law.

If you would like to tell us of any changes to your information or change the way we contact you, then please contact us as follows:

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

Write to us at Shared Lives Plus, Room G04, The Cotton Exchange, Liverpool, L3 9JR

Telephone us on 0151 227 3499

Asking us to stop using your data and finding out about the information we hold on you

You have a right to ask us to stop processing your personal data, and if it’s not essential for the purpose you provided it for (e.g. processing your membership or registering you for an event), we will do so. Get in touch with us on 0151 227 3499 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any concerns.

You have a right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you.

If you would like to access your information, then please send a letter to us at Shared Lives Plus, Room G04, Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9JR, detailing the information you’d like to see. We can only accept requests like this via post, so we can verify the identity of the person who has contacted us.

Online information

To improve your browsing experience, we do use services provided by third parties such as Facebook, Google and other social media bodies. Whilst every reasonable effort is taken to protect your data and ensure your privacy is respected, please bear in mind that we have no direct control over these services or any information shared with them. Please be aware that it is not always possible for us to guarantee that they adhere to the same standards Shared Lives Plus does. If you have any concerns that you would like further clarification on, then please contact us and we would be delighted to discuss this further.

Shared Lives Plus provides this website as a public service and cannot guarantee your connection is always secure. Please be aware that this is your responsibility. Shared Lives Plus values you and your data and will take every reasonable step to ensure a safe and secure browsing experience but it cannot be held liable for data loss or issue whilst accessing our services. By browsing our site and using our digital services you agree to our privacy policy and the limitations outlined therein. Shared Lives Plus is a UK registered charity and subject to all UK legislation regarding data protection.

Like most websites, we use “cookies” to help us make our site – and the way you use it – better. Cookies mean that a website will remember you. They’re small text files that sites transfer to your computer (or phone or tablet). They make interacting with a website faster and easier – for example by automatically filling your name and address in text fields. There are more details in our Cookie Policy.

Changes to this policy

This privacy policy may be updated from time to time, so you may wish to check it each time you submit information to Shared Lives Plus. The date of the most recent revisions will appear on this page. If you do not agree to these changes, you have the option to opt out at any time. We will notify members of any major changes by placing a notice on the website or by contacting you directly.

Shared Lives Plus uses cookies and some content from third parties such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. Shared Lives Plus is registered in the UK and subject to its legislation regarding data protection.

If you have any questions about our privacy policy or any concerns regarding your visit to our site please do not hesitate to contact us by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 0151 227 3499‎. Entering our site implies agreement to our privacy policy.

guardian may 18Shared Lives matches carers and people with support needs, promoting independence and reducing isolation - but too few people know about the service, the Guardian reports today

When Sarah* came to live with Heather Samuels and her daughter in Manchester, she had been struggling to cope at home after her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. 

The 28-year-old has Asperger’s and autism. “She didn’t want to leave the house and she didn’t really speak,” says Samuels. “Now she’s becoming much more independent, she walks everywhere and is always out and about.”

Samuels admits it took time and effort to get Sarah used to a new family life, but encouraging her to speak instead of shaking her head, introducing a daily routine, and giving her ownership of chores (such as tidying her room), has helped. The family also took Sarah to Bermuda on holiday with them last year, where she tried new activities including jetskiing. The arrangement is working well - Sarah says she likes “everything” about living with Samuels. 

Interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer? Read the full article

A new film - 'My choice, our life' explores the extraordinary impact that Shared Lives can have for people with mental ill health. 

It’s a brief, uplifting and intimate view into the lives of two Shared Lives families, and demonstrates the nurturing, restorative effect that living in an ordinary family home can have on a person’s mental health.

The theme of this year’s mental health awareness week is stress. Stress affects everybody and can be particularly hard to cope with for people who are isolated and face barriers to living independently.

Shared Lives’ emphasis on relationships, compassion and communication provides people with the emotional and psychological support that everybody deserves, but not everybody gets.

Press Release

15th May 2018

Homeshare Offers Solutions to Loneliness and Youth Housing Crisis,

Reveals New Evaluation Report


Research published today by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Big Lottery Fund reveals the positive impact of intergenerational homesharing on reducing loneliness and isolation, improving wellbeing and addressing the lack of affordable housing options for younger people.

The evaluation, conducted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Traverse, finds that the Homeshare model:

  • reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing by offering companionship and facilitating inter-generational relationships
  • provides affordable housing for younger people who are often priced out of home ownership and even renting

The Homeshare model brings together older people with a spare room with younger people seeking affordable housing or an alternative to a traditional house share. In return for the accommodation the younger person – “homesharer” - provides up to 10 hours of support around the house as well as more informally being around for a chat. All Homeshare schemes carefully vet, match and oversee each unique Homeshare arrangement. Participants pay moderate fees to cover the administrative costs of the Homeshare scheme including matching services, safeguarding and monitoring visits, while homesharers also contribute to household costs and bills.

Today’s report draws on evidence from a £2 million Homeshare Partnership Programme, funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Big Lottery Fund, using money raised by National Lottery players. The programme was set up in 2015 to grow and develop the model and has funded eight pilot Homeshare schemes across the UK as well as the development of a national network in partnership with Shared Lives Plus. Other partners to the programme included Age UK and the Foyer Federation.

Today’s evaluation was based on reviewing a range of evidence and capturing the experiences of staff at eight schemes and from 28 matches across the 2 years of the Programme. The evaluators found that Homeshare improved wellbeing for participants, offered companionship, made affordable housing available, and facilitated inter-generational relationships. A typical relationship involved participants sharing joint activities, genuine companionship and a mutual sharing of home life, time, skills and experience – as this case study highlights:


Case study

Florence, 95 and Alexandra, 27 are homesharers living in South London.

Florence said: Sharing your home is a marvellous idea. Loneliness is horrible. You can get bored to tears being by yourself. Having someone else in the home makes a big difference. You don't have to worry about falling over or hurting yourself. Some people might feel a bit concerned about having a younger person living in their home, but Alexandra is lovely. I would call her a close friend. We talk about everything, just as I would with my other friends.”

Alexandra said:People sometimes look slightly strangely at you when you first explain you live with someone who is 95 and not a relative, but it's like being with an old family friend. It gives me somewhere really homely to come back to in the evening, which is great. Rent in London is also really high but living with Flo makes being here more affordable.”


Taking Homeshare forward


The report recognised that there were challenges experienced by Homeshare participants including: becoming accustomed to sharing space, the escalation of a householder’s care needs, when support needs to be provided, and navigating resolution of conflict between matches - but also how an effective Homeshare scheme manages and mitigates those issues.

Ongoing support will be delivered by Homeshare UK, part of Shared Lives Plus, to support local areas with setting up new schemes and spread best practice to develop existing schemes. The website www.homeshareuk.org helps people find a scheme to see if Homeshare might be right for them or a family member. Shared Lives Plus will also manage a best practice guide, development of a quality assurance framework and networking events for those running schemes, to help put Homeshare on the map and ensure that it is developed in a safe, cost-effective and sustainable way.

In response to the learning from the evaluation and delivery of schemes on the ground, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Shared Lives Plus and Big Lottery Fund are calling for:

  • More Homeshare schemes to be set up to widen the coverage so more people can benefit from the solutions it offers towards tackling loneliness, helping people stay in their homes and others to find affordable accommodation
  • Local authorities, Clinical Care Commissioning Groups, independent funders and others to support the setup and development of schemes and help them address the challenges outlined in the report and become more effective and sustainable

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales said:

“Sometimes the issues facing society can seem intractable – growing loneliness, isolation and intergenerational divides, the unaffordability of housing and the social care crisis. Homeshare offers a clear and effective way to help people on the sharp end of these issues. The Homeshare Partnership Programme has been instrumental in showing that Homeshare can and does work and we are delighted to have supported it and a package of support to help people set up and manage schemes. We now encourage others to take up the mantle to help more people, their families and communities enjoy the benefits of Homesharing.”

For more information please contact Jon Narcross This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0207 378 4619.

Notes to Editors:

Homeshare UK

  • Homeshare UK is the network for all Homeshare schemes in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We work closely with Homeshare International.
  • There are currently over 20 schemes around the UK, with 250 pairs of people involved and the network has grown by 35% over the last year – homeshareUK.org
  • Homeshare has proven to be a popular model across the US and Europe with schemes successfully operating in 14 countries worldwide.
  • HomeShare UK supports, guides and is the national voice for Homeshare schemes.
  • Our quality standards ensure Homeshare UK network members self-regulate and continuously improve their practices so that they are safe and effective.

The Homeshare model is based on trust and friendship, allowing people to ‘live well’ within their chosen communities. To find out more visit www.homeshareuk.org

About The Partners

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is one of the UK’s leading community grant-makers. An independent registered charity funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the Group’s commitment tohttp://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/ProsperPlan%20%20%20%20" target="_blank">Helping Britain Prosper. The Foundation invests in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives and promotes practical approaches to lasting change. For more information visit www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.


Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for Shared Lives carers, Shared Lives schemes and Homeshare schemes. With over 5,000 Members UK-wide, we have a unique overview and voice which we use to support schemes and Shared Lives carers through policy, guidance, advice and legal support. We also work to diversify and establish new Shared Lives and Homeshare schemes. To find out more visit www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk


Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works.

SCIE is a leading improvement support agency and an independent charity working with adults’, families’ and children's care and support services across the UK. They also work closely with related services such as health care and housing.


The Foyer Federation

The Foyer Federation exists to ensure young people who can’t live at home get the same investment as other young people. Our aim is to ensure every young person can thrive, not just cope or survive. Across the Foyer network, approximately 10,000 young people aged 16-25 are reached each year. Foyers provide accommodation, personal development and employability support in a nurturing and safe environment. Our role is to innovate, champion service reform and ensure the Foyer network can deliver the best quality offer to young people.


Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support.  It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high-quality health and care; are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate.

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

Research published in May 2018 by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Big Lottery Fund, revealed how intergenerational homesharing can help reduce loneliness and isolation, improve wellbeing and address the lack of affordable housing options. Homeshare is based on trust and friendship, allowing people to ‘live well’ within their chosen communities.

The evaluation, commissioned by SCIE and conducted by Traverse, looked at what works to develop a sustainable Homeshare scheme, through:

  • Identifying which approaches and activities work best as well as barriers
  • Assessing the cost and benefits of the schemes
  • Identifying what would encourage a wider take up of Homeshare, through the development of a framework of factors to be used by commissioners to assess bids for Homeshare schemes.

The evaluation found that the Homeshare model:

  • reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing by offering companionship and facilitating inter-generational relationships
  • provides affordable housing for younger people who are often priced out.

The evaluation was funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales (LBF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BLF), who have collectively invested £2m in the Homeshare Partnership programme. The programme included supporting the set up of Homeshare schemes at eight sites in England and Scotland, to test and develop the model. Further details about these sites are provided in the report.

Useful Links 

About Homeshare in the UK

  • Homeshare UK is the network for all Homeshare schemes in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Partners work closely with Homeshare International.
  • As of May 2018 there are some 20 schemes around the UK with 350 matches involved. The network has grown by 35% over the last year
  • Homeshare has proven to be a popular model across the US and Europe with schemes successfully operating in 14 countries worldwide.
  • HomeShare UK supports, guides and is the national voice for Homeshare schemes.
  • The quality standards developed by Homeshare UK ensure network members self-regulate and continuously improve their practices so that they are safe and effective.

Today marks the launch of the evaluation of the two year national Homeshare partnership, funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation and Big Lottery Fund. It’s been the most significant two years in the development of Homeshare in the UK: £2m invested, eight new programmes created, with a dozen more benefiting from the partnership which has established infrastructure, evidence, new approaches and more sustainable practices. So what have we learnt?

Alex Fox, CEO Shared Lives Plus reflects on the Homeshare partnership programme:

Florence is 95 and Alexandra is 27. Their Homeshare story has been watched more than 25 million times

The challenge with Homeshare was never whether it worked. There are decades of positive stories from older and younger people who have been carefully matched by a local Homeshare programme. The people in those stories have found that it is not just the exchange of housing and a little practical help which makes Homeshare work for them, it is the forming of a real bond with someone who is at a very different stage of life, but who becomes an unexpected friend. The challenge we faced at the beginning of this programme was to understand why Homeshare had not grown in the UK, in the way that it had grown in many others, including countries like the US, Australia and France, where the approach to shared housing is not so different to our own.

The evaluation report by SCIE and OPM outlines many lessons and the evidence behind them, so I wanted to highlight a few learning points from our perspective at Shared Lives Plus, where our work is based on supporting our members and reaching out into the wider world to raise awareness, grow enthusiasm and work with local and national government.

Flo and Alexandra inside

First, the positives, of which there are many. We have more Homeshare programmes, reaching more people, including a number which are now self-sustaining on participants’ contributions alone. The local programmes have benefitted enormously from the work of my colleagues Debs and Heather who were funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation, who provided support and advice, and who convened what has become one of the closest and most productive communities of practice I’ve seen. Perhaps because there have been only around 20 organisations in the community, most of a similar size and at a similar early stage of development, the group has aligned itself around a shared set of values, practices and goals, with a strong shared view on membership as being a badge of quality. We worked with members to develop a set of shared values, a website, www.homeshareuk.org  which acts as members’ shared front door, a quality commitment framework and good practice guidance. We have also worked with government on regulatory and benefits issues which can make Homeshare more expensive for some low income groups.

We knew that one of the main problems was low awareness and it feels like we started to break through that barrier in the last few months, with the film above watched by millions, and numerous articles and features in national papers and on the TV. People nearly always feel they’ve heard of Homeshare now, when you explain what it is, which is progress! The growth in numbers was slower than we’d hoped at the beginning of the programme, but enquiries and matches have taken off as we near the end. So there are things that we have all worked on which have contributed to the model breaking through and which are very promising for its future. I believe that good growth comes from supply, demand and values, and we paid attention to building and protecting all three. There are also things which were nothing to do with us. A key change I’ve felt in the past eight years has been a deeper shift in attitudes to sharing housing. This has been driven by the housing crisis, a shortage of good affordable support for older people, the burgeoning loneliness crisis which is an epidemic for older people but also growing worryingly for younger people, and the growth of the sharing economy. Eight years ago AirBnB still felt quite fringe, but its growth has been explosive in the last couple of years, with 170,000 hosts welcoming 6 million visitors. Sharing your home is becoming mainstream.

That explosive growth in a commercial model also points to some of the frustrations of trying to grow a public service model. I read today of another care-related tech start up, with £500k to spend on marketing and product development. It’s very hard to win funding for awareness raising in the public sector/ charity world: the extra support Lloyds Bank Foundation have given us and our members with marketing Homeshare is a rare example. Social investment has brought the concept of working capital for R&D into our world, but public service innovations are not always easily linked to a return on investment, because their success is not always measured financially, and even where savings in public service budgets are expected, commissioners are typically working without any spare cash, and are ultra-cautious about speculating on new approaches. Sometimes we feel trapped: locked out of the commercial opportunities of a free market, but no longer in a world where central government takes big strategic decisions and investment risks: these have been pushed down to increasingly cash-strapped local areas.

So what’s the future for Homeshare? We are very fortunate that Lloyds Bank Foundation and Big Lottery Fund have provided continuation funding to enable us to support the new and existing programmes as they find their feet and expand. We have created a support offer to local areas to develop Homeshare and have just picked up our first contract. A council has become the first to pledge to become a Homeshare friendly area: this could mean working with us to ensure that older people’s organisations promote and refer to the local Homeshare programme, which would make a huge impact as many are currently frustratingly risk-selective at present. We will be building online communities for Homeshare participants as well as Homeshare organisations.

Perhaps the most important shift we need to make is to embrace more deeply our ‘asset-based’ ethos. Homeshare is often marketed to older people as a way to help them, but it is equally a way for older people to help younger people get a start in life. I think that could be much more appealing message and we are developing partnerships with organisations which will be based more clearly on that mentoring role for older people who might be at risk of isolation or feeling they lack purpose, but who don’t want to see themselves as ‘lonely and vulnerable’.

Catch up with the Homeshare event on Twitter or take part in the Twitter takeover at 4pm Tuesday 15 May using #HomeshareUK

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 19:01

Test drive our new website

We know that this website can be frustrating. Some people have found it difficult to locate the sections of the website that they need, and others have had difficulty navigating individual pages. We know how important it is for you to be able to access the information you need when you need it, and to be able to use features such as the forum.

The good news is that we are working hard to develop a new website, which will be designed for our members to access the information and features that you need. The new website is still in the works, but is advanced enough that a working version of it can be tested.

Because the new website needs to be fit for purpose for our members, we need some of you to test this working version and tell us how you find it. So we need volunteers - please let us know if you woudl be interested in trying the demo version of the new site by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 18:32

Meet your MP!

Written by

We have begun to send Shared Lives schemes the first parts of their Shared Lives Week packs. The full packs will include an assortment of newly designed materials such as posters, leaflets, cards, balloons and even Shared Lives rice paper for decorating cupcakes - all of which will be available for you to use as you celebrate Shared Lives Week locally.

But this first part of the pack is something a bit different. This year's theme is valuing Shared Lives carers, and we want to raise the profile of the amazing role that Shared Lives carers play amongst politicians. This is also an important part of building political support for our related campaign: fairness for Shared Lives carers. We want MPs to meet the Shared Lives carers that live and work in their constituencies. So as the first part of the Shared Lives week packs, we have created a postcard for you to fill out and send to your local MP, inviting them to meet you.

The postcards will be arriving to you through your schemes soon. When you receive your postcard - simply fill it out and send it to your MP. If they reply, you could be in with a chance of being a guest at our parliamentary receptiion at the House of Commons, on Wednesday June 20th! 

If it is more convenient, you can also arrange to meet your MP locally. 


Thursday, 03 May 2018 14:29

VCSE webinar

In the context of a changing -and challenging - health and social care environment, the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector has played an increasing role in offering innovative, person-focused services to people. In November 2014, the Departmen of Health (DH), Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England initated a review of the role of the VVCSE sector in improving health, wellbeing and care outcomes.

The review was designed to describe the existing role and function of the VCSE sector in health and care , identify the challenges and opportunities for that sector and finally deliver a set of recommendations based on this work. 

The review, chaired by Shared Lives Plus CEO ALex Fox, presented its recommendations in 2016. Now that the health and social care landscape is changing more drastically, and at a quicker pace, the review is set to enter a second phase. its focus will be on delivering recommendations as to how VCSEs and health and social care agencies can partner together. 

We invite you to join Alex Fox, Glenn Garrod (ADASS) and Neil Churchill (NHS England) at a webinar on 16th May, between 3:30 - 4:30 PM. It is aimed at statutory organisations, the VCSE sector, commissioners and other health and social care organisations. 

To join this webinar, please click here , scroll down to 'Second phase of the Joint VCSE Review' and follow on screen instructions.

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