It’s not often you find MPs agreeing on something, but yesterday leading politicians across the political parties backed Shared Lives as the ‘future of social care’.
Over 50 people involved in Shared Lives travelled from across the UK to meet MPs at the House of Commons as part of this year’s campaign to value fairness for Shared Lives carers.
Liz Kendall MP, who hosted the event, said thank you to all Shared Lives carers, “You are the future of social care because you give people what we all want from life: someone to love, a home, a family, as normal a life as possible, with independence, choice and control to do what you want with your life. Some of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard have come from Shared Lives. People who were trapped in institutions, now living happy, fulfilled lives.
Kendall continued, “You are the good in the world, which we need so much right now. I’m so proud to give you my full support”.
Norman Lamb MP, former Minister for Social Care, advocated radical changes in both the health and social care system: "So often the wrong care costs us money and so often we breach people’s human rights, locking people away when they don’t need to be. We need a radical transformation. I want do everything I can to support you on this journey.”
Kit Malthouse, Minister for Families and Housing, said, “Shared Lives is consistently rated outstanding by the CQC and although money changes hands and there are duties required, it is the high quality mutual relationships at the heart of Shared Lives which are its power. We need to ensure that Shared Lives carers have the right support which enables their relationship with the person they support to be as brilliant as possible.”
Throughout the evening MPs spoke to people who are supported by Shared Lives carers and learned about the difference they have made. Hear Ali and Chris’ story here
Meg who spent five years in a mental health hospital, said, “I found out about Shared Lives and it sounded perfect. With the support of my clinician, I moved in with my Shared Lives carer in a new town. I was so scared, I didn’t know how to live in the community, but she taught me and she stood by my side. It’s been 22 months since I left hospital and I have achieved so much.
I work three days a week, I run a self-harm support group in my town, I’ve been on adventures and made new friends. In January this year, I moved into my own house and my Shared Lives carer still supports me a few days a week.
“More people need this chance and we need to see them as people with a future instead of a risk or a case study.”
John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor and Iain Duncan Smith put their differences aside for a moment, to find out about Shared Lives for themselves.
Alex Fox, CEO said, “Politicians disagree on just about everything, except for Shared Lives. Everyone can see that it’s the small miracles, such as stable and consistent relationships and an ordinary home, which make such a huge difference to people’s lives. It’s the things that you can’t contract for – which makes it so unique.
You won’t often hear people talking about money, but we are not ignoring it. Some Shared Lives carers haven’t had a pay rise in ten years and we are calling on local authorities to include Shared Lives carers in their health and social care workforce development and pay reviews.”
Read Alex’s latest blog - social care’s birthday present looks like continued cuts