This week we are helping everyone involved to celebrate our amazing Shared Lives carers and the lives of people you support!
We are giving a huge shout out, thank you and celebrating 10,000 Shared Lives carers around the UK who open their homes and family life to support 14,000 people with mental ill health, dementia, learning disability to build kinder, stronger communities.
All the celebrations are online this year, with tea parties, quizzes, hat and baking competitions, bringing Shared Lives households together to celebrate the amazing work they do in their community. No corner of our lives or our country is untouched by this crisis, and Shared Lives carers, who already give so much to their communities, are now relied upon more than ever. It has been humbling to see our members carry on sharing their lives and providing care for those they support in the face of tremendous challenges.
Through it all Shared Lives carers and the people they support are finding ways to overcome problems together – not only surviving, but doing it with humour and style.
Whether it’s discovering a new talent for painting like Ivor and Peter in Shared Lives south west, making onion chutney (with all the tears that entails) like Judy, Jo and Mandy in Shared Lives Hertfordshire or Jon Thomas in South East Wales keeping active and enjoying the sunshine, seeing the different ways in which Shared Lives matches are beating the boredom and frustration of lockdown brings smiles every time.
Shared Lives carers have been inviting MPs round to meet them in their gardens and today Shared Lives carers and people they support are meeting with Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care.
We’ve set up a new telephone support service with the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, to help carers respond proactively to anxiety or disrupted routines faced by the people they support, sustaining them through the most difficult of times. We are disappointed the Treasury isn’t able to support self-employed Shared Lives carers who are hardest hit of all – those who offer day support or short breaks.
In the last twelve months despite austerity and no clear plan for social care, the total number of people supported in Shared Lives in England grew by 540, or 4.4%, to a total of 12,890 compared to the previous year’s data. These small numbers of growth despite the long-term effects of sustained austerity and a lack of a cohesive strategy for social care, demonstrates Shared Lives’ great resilience at a time when the need for robust and flexible social care alternatives could not be more urgent. Read more about our growth across the UK
Alex Fox, Shared Lives Plus CEO, says, “Shared Lives carers offer any of us who need support, a safe and fun way of life with others who are part of the community, in an ordinary household. We are very proud that Shared Lives carers help people to do stuff many people take for granted – making friends, learning new skills, or recovering after a hospital stay can help people grow in confidence to continue happier, healthier lives. It can be tough caring for people in your own home during Covid-19 and we are grateful for our supporters who have enabled us to keep our carer’s helpline open for longer through this difficult time. I’m also incredibly proud of local Shared Lives schemes who have adapted and grown their offer to support more people in tough times, building strength and kindness in every community.”
Read Alex Fox, CEO’s latest blog: Rebuilding communities and social care are deeply linked challenges