Text Size


JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 812

Press Centre

Hold the front page.... Have we got news for you!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:16

Thousands of vulnerable adults offered homes with local families as part of innovative social care scheme

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Thousands of vulnerable adults offered homes with local families as part of innovative social care scheme

Embargoed until: 00.01 Wednesday 20th May 2015

As the care crisis continues to hit social services, a unique scheme that sees ordinary people open up their own homes and family lives to support vulnerable adults and young people has grown rapidly. The Shared Lives approach, which helps people with complex needs, has seen demand for its services grow by 14% in the last year.

A new report by the charity, Shared Lives Plus, shows they are now supporting over 10,000 people across England, with over 8,000 carers offering support on either a long or short-term basis in their own home.

The scheme now operates in almost every local authority area in England and is proven to save an average of £26,000 per person per year compared with traditional forms of institutional or residential care. With adult social care budgets being reduced by £3.5bn in the last 4 years, local authorities have welcomed the new approach.

Ray James, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services says:
“The Association of Directors of Adult Social Care is arguing for social care services to be based on building closer relationships between people who need support and their communities. The rapid growth of Shared Lives proves that community-based models of care can, and do, work. Shared Lives often not only saves money but more importantly helps people to live well and safely in ordinary homes and teaches us how to create the kinds of communities we would all like to live and grow old in.”

Although the majority of people using Shared Lives have learning disabilities, the charity has also seen demand from people with mental health problems grow by over 10%. The need for day support has also doubled in the past year with over 2000 people now using Shared Lives in this way.

Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus says:
“Despite the challenges our social care system faces, affordable quality care in a smaller setting is an attractive and growing option for councils, health services, and most importantly adults who need support. We know Shared Lives works and offers people with learning disabilities, dementia and mental health problems a chance to stay in their local community, make friends and live well.
By expanding Shared Lives, over £120m could be saved by councils and the NHS – and crucially more people will benefit.”

Debbie, who has learning difficulties, had only ever lived in residential care homes and had found it difficult to settle anywhere. When she first moved in with carer Angela, Debbie struggled to make eye contact and didn’t talk very much. Two years on, Debbie takes part in drama classes and singing groups. She says: “I am much happier living here. In the other homes I did not feel loved, and people were mean to me. Now I have a family who love me, and I love them.”

Shared Lives is now recruiting more carers, so that they can double the number of schemes being offered across the country over the next five years.

Lorraine from Bournemouth has been a carer for several years:
“Shared Lives has allowed us to meet some amazing people and we’ve seen them develop their self-esteem and independence. It gives you a real sense of achievement and pride. Our family and friends have grown and gained so much from the experience.”

NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens says:
“Our vision for a more innovative healthcare system, will see community-based models of health and care support like Shared Lives play an important role. Shared Lives carers share their own homes and their family and community lives with older and disabled people.
Shared Lives is already helping people recover from or avoid hospital stays in some areas and I hope the Shared Lives Plus recruitment campaign will lead to the model being offered more widely.”


Notes to editors:
The State of Shared Lives in England 2015 is available at www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Tim Moore on 078815 21269 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key Findings from Shared Lives report
· Shared Lives is growing by 14% at a time when the wider care sector is shrinking by 4%
· The number of Shared Lives arrangements has grown by 1300 (14%)
· The number of Shared Lives carers has increased by 900 (12%)
· The number of Shared Lives workers has increased by 7%
· This has happened against a backdrop of cuts and contraction in the wider Adult Social Care sector.
· Shared Lives Plus is on track to meet our target of doubling the size of Shared Lives over 5 years
· If all areas caught up with the best, Shared Lives could reach an additional 33,000 people and make cashable savings to local authorities of £120m per year – and this figure does not include the significant savings to the NHS and other services as a result of fewer hospital admissions and longer periods without the need for residential and nursing care for older people.

Regional Headlines
Lancashire supports 9% of the total adults with learning disabilities receiving care and support services in Shared Lives. If all areas caught up with this level of Shared Lives use for adults with learning disabilities then an additional 5880 people could be supported in Shared Lives with a saving of £99,424,000 per year (based on 65% long term arrangements as in Lancashire).

Sheffield currently supports 2.5% of the total number of people over 65 receiving care and support services in Shared Lives. If all areas caught up with this level of Shared Lives use, an additional 24,620 older people could be using Shared Lives.

East Sussex support 1.8% of people with mental health issues known to services in Shared Lives. If all areas caught up with this level of Shared Lives use, an additional 2270 people could be supported in Shared Lives with a saving of up to £18,128,000 (based on 100% long term arrangements in East Sussex).

If all areas caught up with the best performing scheme in the country, Shared Lives could reach an additional 32,770 people and grow to 43,350. This could provide savings of £117,552,000 (based on long term arrangements for people with learning disabilities and mental health), not including reduced hospital admission, less reliance on community health services, respite costs or delayed need for residential or nursing care for older people.

Shared Lives Plus
Shared Lives Plus is the UK network of family-based or very small scale care, support and inclusion approaches for disabled people, young people and older people.

In Shared Lives, an adult (and in some cases a16 or 17 year old) who needs support and/or accommodation moves in with, or regularly visits, an approved Shared Lives carer, after they have been matched for compatibility. Together, they share family and community life. In many cases the individual becomes a settled part of a supportive family, although Shared Lives is also used as day support, as breaks for unpaid family carers, as home from hospital care and as a stepping stone for someone to get their own place.

Case Studies
Dave and Pauline Cowhig from Liverpool, have been opening up their home to vulnerable adults for 30 years, caring for a total of 40 adults, welcoming them in as part of their family, caring for them in their own home, keeping them in their own community. They have opened their hearts and their home to people with complex learning disabilities and physical disabilities. They have passed on their passion for caring to their children and grandchildren. With two daughters and one grandson becoming Shared Lives carers themselves.

They have, on many occasions, adapted their home to suit the people they care for. Once they recreated an old, sparse, hospital room in their home for a lady in her 60's, to help her adjust to her new surroundings after having spent 40 years in hospital. Gradually they were able to introduce a more homely style as she adapted to her new life. Dave and Pauline currently have two people living with them in a Shared Lives arrangement in their home - Alma and Keith, who both have severe learning disabilities. Alma said: “If it wasn't for Dave and Pauline, I would be out on the street.” Dave and Pauline’s home has offered them a family setting, real happiness and a chance to live in the community. As Dave himself says, “It enriches your own life looking after someone and helping them through their difficulties, it makes you stronger as a person.”

Graham and Lorna from Bedfordshire have four grown up children and grandchildren. They have three young women living with them under a Shared Lives arrangement – Claire, 20, Aisha, 28, and Joanne, 32, who all have learning disabilities. Graham and Lorna have a smallholding where they have animals and keep bees – the women enjoy helping to look after the animals. Claire and Aisha, have also started a micro-business selling Quails eggs. Clare says: “It’s lovely living with Graham and Lorna, we are like a family, always doing things together.”

pdfDownload Report

Read 2349 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:46

Contact the Press Team

Contact the shared Lives Plus Communications Team who will be happy to help you. 

Communications Manager

Phone: 0151 227 3499 




Work with Us

You're clearly passionate about Shared Lives like us, why don't you find out if we have any current vacancies.


If you have not received new LOG IN details in the last few days then you will be unable to log in here until you have done so. Please do not attempt to log in as you will be locked out

Thank you for logging in. Now please feel free to visit the private sections of the site.