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Northern Ireland

“We can honestly say giving up a few Saturdays a month to give Ann and Bill new opportunities and to help their families by enabling them to have a break from their caring responsibilities, has been one of the best things we have ever done. Our own family really enjoy having them in their lives too.” Stephanie and Martin Kenny, Families Matter Shared Lives Service

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The Department of Health has supported a transformation bid in 2018 from the Health & Social Care Board to expand the adult placement model in Northern Ireland. This was to expand capacity for adults with a learning disability and develop and offer services to older people and other groups.

Just over 200 people are supported by adult placement schemes in Northern Ireland, supported by a similar number of Shared Lives carers.

Adult placement schemes are well managed and deliver safe and high-quality care in Northern Ireland. Annual RQIA inspections in 2018 for all schemes highlighted good practice across key inspection areas with no areas for improvement. Shared Lives is consistently rated as one of the highest performing social care models by regulators in the rest of the UK.

Northern Trust’s “Share the Care” adult placement scheme accounts for 54% of adults accessing support and 51% of scheme carers in Northern Ireland, reflecting greater investment and higher staff numbers compared to other schemes.

Most of the support provided in Northern Ireland is shorts breaks in the homes of scheme carers (49%)  followed by day support (26%) and longer-term care arrangements of over 4 weeks (24%).

To explore setting up a Shared Lives scheme or Homeshare organisation, contact Bernie Kelly, Northern Ireland Development Manager,, 07827 909 128.