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Wednesday, 30 January 2019 12:07

Shared Lives in Scotland annual report 2017-18

Kim and Bill Paisley Cornerstone Sarah.McPhailcornerstone.org.ukWe are delighted to be able to share our executive summary report about the incredible growth of Shared Lives 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, like Kym who lives with Bill, Shared Lives carer and his family (pictured right).

Over 2017 - 18 there has been:

  • 13% increase in the numbers of people using Shared Lives over the 12 months to 31 March 2018: 435 now, up from 380. 
  • The number of older people supported within Shared Lives has more than doubled to 200, up from 93 
  • 15 Shared Lives schemes in Scotland with 321 people working as Shared Lives carers in Scotland, a 14% increase.
  • Savings of £3.9m to the public purse last year. If every partnership matched the work in Fife then there would be over 1,000 people supported in Scotland with annual savings to the public purse of over £12.1m.
  • 72% of schemes receive a rating of Very Good or Excellent from the Care Inspectorate, and none received a rating lower than Good.
  • Glasgow City Council started a new Shared Lives scheme and five more partnerships are considering the same.

Read the executive summary 

If you would like support to develop a Shared Lives scheme, please contact Ben Hall, Scotland Development Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07392 313 501.

Scotland out to sea websiteWe commissioned this research to illustrate the impact of Shared Lives Moray's work with older people living with dementia and their family carers in Scotland, including information on the use of self-directed support.

It shows evidence of Shared Lives’ positive impact on people's wellbeing when they are living with dementia:

  • ongoing connectedness to people's communities
  • increased emotional wellbeing
  • delay moving into residential care.

"Shared Lives is helping me stay well enough long enough to prevent my wife going into care" family carer, Moray

Download the report

With thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust, funded by The Big Lottery, now known as The National Lottery Community Fund.

For more information, please contact Ben Hall, Scotland Development Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 07392 313 501

Flo and Alexandra inside“You cannot believe the difference that it makes just hearing somebody in the house. Hearing movement upstairs and knowing that it's not someone breaking in or something like that. The best thing about it is somebody coming in at night, round about six o'clock.” Florence, Householder, London

In 2018, in partnership with the Department of Communities, Homeshare UK undertook a study to assess the feasibility of having an active Homeshare service in Northern Ireland.

The report concluded that Homeshare:

  • Supports older people to live independently for as long as they can in their community 
  • Is a preventative approach which supports those with low level social support needs below eligibility thresholds for statutory social care 
  • Potential to help reduce demand for social housing and make best use of existing housing stock 
  • Provides good quality low cost homes for key low paid workers and other groups who need affordable housing
  • Companionship and reduction of loneliness and isolation for both Householders and Homesharers
  • Potential to support specific demographic groups such as individuals with disabilities, refugees, older males and those with early onset dementia
  • Low-cost support option, with potential to reduce Health Trust spending on social care and new housing stock for older people
  • Supports early discharge from hospital.

Read the executive summary with key findings

Read the full report

Friday, 12 October 2018 10:59

New report shows Homeshare is growing

We are delighted to publish the Homeshare annual sector report. It is a comprehensive analysis of the national Homeshare sector, laying out the key success, challenges and priorities for Homeshare in the UK.

It reflects on the remarkable growth in public awareness of the Homeshare model after high profile media appearances and a video of Florence and Alexandra on BBC politics that has been viewed 25 million times.

Important successes

  • The number of matches has increased 42% since last year
  • The average length of a Homeshare match has increased from 12-14 months
  • Six schemes are now financially self-sustaining
  • Evidence shows that Homeshare can simultaneously tackle loneliness at all ages, low-level support needs in older people, and the lack of affordable housing


  • Homeshare is still only available to ‘self-funders’
  • Large parts of the UK and Ireland are not well served by Homeshare
  • There is still a lack of formalised referral pathways from health and social care professionals to Homeshare providers
  • Despite huge increase in public awareness, Homeshare is still relatively unknown amongst key potential supporters including; health and social care professionals and local authority front line staff.

The report calls for local areas to become ‘Homeshare friendly,’ and for national and local leadership to make Homeshare affordable for people on low incomes. We are also asking for Homeshare to be scaled up and developed in places where there is currently limited access to the scheme, particularly Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North East and South East of England.

Please take the time to read the full report for full picture of Homeshare in the UK, depicted in statistics and stories of people whose lives have been transformed and enriched by sharing a home, exchanging practical help, knowledge and companionship.

If you’re on the go, you can read the executive summary for some key facts!

Homeshare UK annual report 2018 - executive summary 

Homeshare UK - full report 2018

You can also read an the reports on the Homeshare UK website.

Extract: Homelessness

National and local contexts

Shelter described homelessness as affecting 81,000 households during 2013-14, of which 2,414 were people rough sleeping, a rise of 37% since 2010. An ongoing rise in officially estimated rough sleeper numbers remained evident in 2014, with the national total up by 55 per cent since 2010. At 14 per cent, the 2014 country-wide was the largest since 2011 (Homelessness Monitor Report, 2016).

Since bottoming out in 2010/11, homeless placements in temporary accommodation have risen sharply, with the overall national total rising by 12 per cent in the year to 30th June 2015; up by 40 per cent since its low point four years earlier. Although accounting for only eight per cent of the national total, B&B placements rose sharply (23%) in the most recent year. 'Out of district' placements also continue to rise, now accounting for 26 per cent of the national total, up from only 11 per cent in 2010/11. Such placements mainly involve London boroughs.

Homelessness is linked to high levels of crime, mental health issues, substance misuse, high unemployment and high levels of benefits:

  • 45% compared to 25% in the general population, have a long term health problem
  • 41% compared to 28% and 36% have used drugs and/or 27% use or are recovering from alcohol problems.
  • 79% of prisoners who reported homelessness before custody reoffended within a year of release compared to 47% of those unaffected by homelessness.  

As well as issues relating to offending and substance misuse, homelessness also has health implications. Homeless people have poorer health outcomes than the

general population, and an average age of death 30 years below the national average. Living on the streets or without a stable home can make people vulnerable to illness, poor mental health and drug and alcohol problems. Homeless people often seek medical treatment at a later stage during illness, leading to costly secondary health care and worsened health outcomes. This situation is exacerbated by the reduced potential for recovery due to many homeless people returning to insecure accommodation or rough sleeping after medical treatment. In some cases, accommodation may be lost during their time in hospital.

Research carried out in 2010 showed that the total cost of hospital use by homeless people is estimated to be about four times higher than the general population. Looking at inpatient costs alone, the difference is eight times higher among homeless people.

Evidence about what works

A report by the Centre for Health Service Economics & Organisation (CHSEO) in 2011 showed that projects and models which have been implemented to improve admission and discharge practice have demonstrated cost benefits in two different ways:  

  • Reduced average length of stay as homeless people are more likely to be discharged sooner if their houseing and next steps are adequaterly addressed
  • Greater recovery rates through timely discharge to suitable accommodation, resulting in fewer emergency readmissions to hospital within 28 days.  

The first report from the Ministerial Working Group on tackling and preventing homelessness, Vision to end rough sleeping: no second night out nationwide (2011) included a commitment to improve hospital discharge for homeless people. The following year, Homeless Link and St Mungo’s were commissioned by DH to explore how the system of hospital admission and discharge was working for homeless people, and what more needed to be done to improve where the system was failing to discharge homeless people into appropriate accommodation. The report, Improving hospital admission and discharge for people who are homeless, published (May 2012) showed that more than 70% of homeless people had been discharged from hospital back onto the street, without their housing or underlying health problems being address. This was further damaging their health and increasing costs to the NHS through ‘revolving door’ admissions.

Government investment of £10million was announced in May 2013 for the Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund, for voluntary sector organisations, working in partnership with the NHS and local government, to bid for money to improve hospital discharge arrangements for homeless people. Homeless link was commissioned by DH to evaluate these projects focusing on what works in supporting homeless people from being readmitted to hospital (both through emergency and planned admissions) and securing stable housing and support after a hospital stay. The findings identified key features of effective models and practice for future replication including:

  • Having a model which combines access to accommodation alongside link workers. Outcomes data showed that where this was available, more clients were discharged into appropriate accomodation (93% compared to 71% overall). 
  • Making intensive support available for people once they have found accomodation is important to improve their recovery and discharge process. 
  • Clarification of the ‘client group’ that projects/schemes are intended to work with (eg rough sleepers, those at risk of homelessness, groups with specific needs such as mental health or substance misuse issues, hostel residents).

Potential outcomes achieved through Shared Lives

A Shared Lives arrangement provides an alternative option for people with a complex profile of support needs including people who are homeless or at risk of

becoming homeless. With its careful matching process, Shared Lives is ideally suited to manage such complexity in an individual way, giving the person living in a Shared Lives arrangement the opportunity to realise their full potential.

This is an area where Shared Lives has the potential to offer a unique combination of accommodation, tailored support and a relationship with a Shared Lives carer and a clear focus on building new networks and communities. This latter point is an important one to stress in terms of breaking the cycle for people coming out of rehab/prison where their networks are all based around their drug using/criminal behaviour etc. Shared Lives gives people an opportunity to build new social networks as well as providing support to look after their health, get and retain paid work and plan for the future.


Stories of lived experience

Dave is a man in his fifties who sustained head injuries inflicted by his father as a child and has experienced a lifetime of mental health difficulties. These have often presented themselves in the form of symptoms of bipolar disorder, which he is not able to recognise and manage himself. Dave has never been able to live fully independently and has spent many years living in various hostels and shelters, where he was seen as “looking like a tramp” and was very vulnerable. He has been living within Shared Lives for nine years in two very successful arrangements. Although it is possible he may never live completely independently, Dave now has a network of positive friendships and relationships and attends the local football club with the son of his previous Shared Lives carer. He dresses  smartly and manages his personal care with support, receiving regular medical and dental treatment. When his mental health deteriorates it's noticed and he gets the right support.

Andrew was living in a homeless hostel before being referred to Shared Lives by his Drugs and Alcohol team. He has seizures and was generally in poor health as a result of his alcohol dependency. Within a few months his health, wellbeing and appearance improved. Previously unable to manage his money, he now has support to manage his finances. He now moderates his alcohol intake and he and his Shared Lives carer have become friends.

"Sharing everyday life got me through tough times" - Susan's story

For more information about developing a Shared Lives scheme to support people who experience homelessness, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07739819825

Thursday, 02 August 2018 10:06

State of Shared Lives in England 2016-17

Alison and JonathanWe are pleased to share the State of Shared Lives in England 2016-17 - a comprehensive report about the Shared Lives sector in England. The data in this report, and the analysis we've drawn from it shows us that Shared Lives is holding its own in the face of some serious challenges in the wider social care sector. In many places Shared Lives is going strong, growing, and supporting more people with different types of needs to live well. The report also shows us, however, that in some areas Shared Lives has diminished due to the significant pressures in the adult social care landscape. Above all, the document serves as a timely reminder of the vital importance of growing Shared Lives in the project to create a more human, person-centred and sustainable health and social care system.

pdfState of Shared Lives in England 2016-17


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. 



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.





In a safeguarding scenario, Shared Lives carers may be the alleged source of risk, the person at risk of abuse or neglect, or the supporter of a person who is at risk of abuse. They can sometimes feel powerless and uninformed, especially if the person using Shared Lives has been moved out of their home without being consulted and / or against their wishes.

It is essential that Shared Lives carers are part of a multi-disciplinary team which is supporting the person to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) consistently rates Shared Lives as one of the safest and most effective forms of care and support and this continues to remain the case under their new inspection regime. In The State of Adult Social Care Services 2014 – 2017, CQC found that Shared Lives services outperformed all other forms of regulated care in inspections.

We have jointly developed these top tips with ADASS, Association for Directors of Adult Social Services. They are for schemes, Shared Lives carers, health and local authorities to ensure that best practice can be followed when a person using Shared Lives is believed to be at risk of harm and/or a safeguarding concern is raised. It is essential to ensure that the person’s wishes are paramount and that the professionals involved understand the difference between a Shared Lives arrangement and other forms of care and support. Shared Lives carers can call our helpline to discuss safeguarding issues and must be Members of Shared Lives Plus to receive support.

Safeguarding in Shared Lives - top tips for schemes

Safeguarding in Shared Lives - top tips for Adult Social Care professionals

Safeguarding - top tips for Shared Lives carers

We know Shared Lives can make a real difference to help people with dementia to live well. An independent report generated by PPL supports this, finding that Shared Lives offers several key advantages as a model of support for people with dementia..

The report found that Shared Lives carers were perfectly placed to offer respite support to family carers, with Shared Lives arrangements able to reduce social isolation and the chance of breakdown for those carers and to help increase their general wellbeing significantly. Crucially, it also said that those suffering from dementia, on average, experienced increased independence, wellbeing and personal choice, and were less likely to experience isolation and confusion in Shared Lives arrangements.

pdfIndependent review of Shared Lives for older people and people living with dementia


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Below you'll find some information about existing research into our work. If you are a researcher who would like to find out more about research and evaluation opportunities in Shared Lives or Homeshare contact us for our research opportunities brochure.

Guide to Personal Health Budgets - 2018

This newly published report from Shared Lives Plus in partnership with NHS England, demonstrates how VCSE organisations are driving innovation and supporting personal health budget expansion across the country.

Read More

Homeshare Annual Report

It is a comprehensive analysis of the national Homeshare sector, laying out the key success, challenges and priorities for Homeshare in the UK.

pdfRead More

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