Shared Lives first began in Liverpool and it is in England that it is most well-established. Shared Lives in England supports over 12350 people. Shared Lives carers have an inspiring track record of supporting a diverse range of people – from young people leaving care, those with mental ill health, learning and or physical disability, after hospital treatment or older people and those with dementia.
Yet for a model of social care with such potential, which consistently outscores all other models of care for quality, and which has been shown to be more cost-effective – numbers are far too low.
“Too often, in social care, we offer people a service, when what they are looking for is a relationship. Investment in Shared Lives can delivery drastically better outcomes for less money, and the time to do it is now.” ”
Stewart been in hospital for over four years because of mental ill health and struggled to find a permanent place to live. He was initially placed into a hostel, but was removed from two placements, before finding Chris and Doug, Shared Lives carers, through their local scheme. Stewart began to get back in touch with his family, who he had previously lost contact with. He says, “I didn’t even see my Dad until I lived with Chris and Doug. They have helped me build a bridge with him.”
One of Stewart’s biggest passions is BMX bikes, and luckily for him Chris’ friend happened to own a bike store. Stewart enjoys setting up the bikes, “it’s great fun” and sees his work place on display for all the customers.
Chris summarised Shared Lives beautifully: “The thing Shared Lives does best, is give purpose. It allows people to feel as if they’re contributing in some way. For him I think life has become so much more.”
This is the latest report on the Shared Lives sector in England, in full and executive summary versions. It shows the numbers, words and images that comprise the latest chapter in the Shared Lives story, including uplifting stories like that of Stewart and Chris, above.