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How do I become a self-employed carer?

Being a Shared Lives carer is unique. It’s about opening up your home to to support anyone aged 16 or above to live independently in a family and community of their choosing. It’s also about having a flexible job and working for yourself to create a better life balance.

We think the future of social care should be more like this – person-centred and based on loving family relationships, rather than more traditional options such as care homes. We want to grow the UK network of more than 16,000 Shared Lives carers, so if you have care experience or are thinking of becoming a Shared Lives carer, read our 5 minute guide on how to start your Shared Lives journey

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What are the benefits of being a Shared Lives carer?

There are many! First of all, there is the flexibility and freedom of working from home, as well as flexible working hours. You can also choose to care for people on a long-term basis, or for short breaks or day support (known as respite care).

Shared Lives carers are self-employed, earning between £350 and £650 per week. You can qualify for tax relief (via qualifying care relief) on your earnings, benefit from regular breaks and be part of our UK-wide support network.

What qualifications do I need?

You do not need any formal qualifications to be a Shared Lives carer. Some Shared Lives providers use the Care Certificate as a starting point for induction programmes etc, and of course you may have your own experience from other forms of care to draw on. However previous experience is not essential – you just need a kind heart and a spare room!

Step by step journey to Shared Lives

Once you have found your nearest Shared Lives service, here is what a typical journey to becoming a Shared Lives carer will look like:

  1. Each local Shared Lives service (there are more than 150 across the UK) will have its own thorough assessment and approval process, which will usually take between three and six months and will include:
    1. Face to face (or online) interviews to get to know you
    2. Meeting your fellow carers
    3. References and checks
    4. Mandatory training, covering first aid, medication awareness, food safety, hydration, infection control, safeguarding adults etc
  2. Once you have been fully approved, a detailed matching process will ensure you and the person you care for are well matched, both in terms of the type of care you are able to provide (short or long term) and also interests, lifestyle, likes and dislikes etc.
  3. Matching is just as important for the person you may be caring for, who will contribute equally to the process. This will involve introductory meetings to find out what they want from their carer.
  4. Once you have been matched, there will be regular reviews with your local provider to ensure things are going well for both carer and the person being supported, or to raise any concerns.

Start your Shared Lives journey now!

If you need to know more there is more detailed information and a series of FAQs here.

Or you can get straight on with it and start your application today!

And don’t just take our word for it – to find out how Shared Lives can truly transform someone’s life, read Meg’s story on our YouTube channel, or hear from Shared Lives carer Mel, who took part in a recent Sky News documentary on the changing social care landscape:

Don’t forget the benefits of being a member of Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for Shared Lives carers, which include full public liability insurance, legal advice, regular newsletters and support from our dedicated team.