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Friday, 13 November 2015 13:25

Birmingham hosts national celebration of innovative form of Social Care with top Government Minister visiting to offer backing

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Embargoed until 00.01 Wednesday 11th September

  • Minister of State Alistair Burt to speak at conference on alternative care approach that has grown by 14% this year

  • Shared Lives set to provide possible solution to reduction of hospital beds for people with autism and learning disabilities

  • West Midlands already has 800* individuals living in Shared Lives with plans for expansion

The city of Birmingham is today (Wednesday) hosting a major UK conference to promote a growing and innovative form of Social Care.

Shared Lives sees individuals with a support need given support or care in the home of a Shared Lives carer. Birmingham itself has a fast developing Shared Lives offer, with 2 schemes in the city, and over 800 people using the service across the West Midlands region.


Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for Shared Lives is hosting the annual conference for the sector, which will look back on a year with a 14% growth nationally despite an overall contraction in the social care sector.

Over 200 Shared Lives’ scheme workers, carers and supporters will attend the event which is being addressed by Minister of State for Care, Alistair Burt MP.

The conference will discuss ambitious plans and progress on doubling the number of people using Shared Lives nationally.

With recent reports that the NHS is set to halve the number of hospital beds for people with learning disabilities and autism in favour of alternative models of support, the conference is a timely opportunity to consider how Shared Lives can be a positive replacement.

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens recently praised Shared Lives as an option where “people can receive the treatment they need whilst remaining in their community, living amongst family and friends, and thus have the best chance of building long-term health and resilience.”

Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus, Alex Fox said;

“We are delighted to be coming to Birmingham to highlight the major benefits of a model of care that offers improved outcomes for participants, value for money for councils and the NHS that is set to grow even further nationwide.”

“Having the Minister of State speak at the conference is a fantastic vote of confidence from the Government. This is acknowledgement of the potential of Shared Lives in Birmingham and elsewhere to deliver better, more personalised care, whilst also helping tackle the challenges facing the NHS”.

Case Study: Birmingham

As part of the Councils review of Residential Placements, Chris was referred to us to consider if Shared Lives would be appropriate for him. I met Chris at the Residential Home with his Social Worker, his Advocate and the Home Manager. Chris quickly engaged with the idea of Shared Lives and it soon became apparent to me that Shared Lives would be a great option for him. In his words he said “I just want to live somewhere where I can be me”.

I introduced him to two Shared Lives Homes and after matching visits it became obvious that he had a lot in common like cookery and baking.

Chris moved in with Alison and her husband in spring of this year. His confidence has grown and he is enjoying living in the community in his Shared Lives Home. He still attends College and now has some voluntary work too which Alison helped him to find. Chris plans to gain paid employment in the baking trade and he provided some delicious cookies for us to serve on our stall at the recent Learning Disability Opportunities Fair. Andrew Cunningham-Gould.

"My name is Chris, I am 38 years old and I was living in a residential home for the last 17 years. When I was told about Shared Lives I was told I would be living with a family and it would be a family environment. I was introduced to someone who Andrew said I might like. I went for a first visit and met Alison and her husband Pilui and their dog Juno and we got on well. Then I went for an overnight stay, after this there was a meeting to ask me if I wanted to move in permanently and I agreed. One month later, I moved in.

At first I walked the dog sometimes. I sorted out my bedroom, my bus pass, medication and medical treatment. I got to know the area and met Alison's family and friends. We go out to different places - we have been to birthday parties in Bromsgrove and Nottingham. We had a day trip to London. We have been to the vintage tea-shop and to Lickey Hills and Waseley Country Park. I like cooking - we have made cookies, cakes, pies and brownies.

Shared Lives is a great company! Things I like about Shared Lives is that it is a family environment, I get treated as an individual and I can just be myself. It could not be any better - I would like to stay here for at least the next 10 years!" 

Notes to editors:

*West Midlands figure is a calculation based on a survey by Shared Lives Plus of West Midlands Shared Lives schemes returning data from 90%

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, Communications Manager 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.

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.

Read 1452 times Last modified on Friday, 13 November 2015 13:28

Contact the Press Team

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

Communications Manager

Phone: 0151 227 3499 




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