Our Shared Lives scheme in the North West offers an alternative to the usual housing support that people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people have on offer to them, such as residential homes or home care.
It offers someone the opportunity to live in a family environment, allowing them to become part of a community, where they can develop relationships and grow in confidence.
We match carers and the people they support carefully and gradually introduce support, ensuring that both the carer and person supported are happy with the arrangement. The support is ongoing and changes with the needs of the individual.
Who can be a Shared Lives carer?
Anyone, of all ages and backgrounds, who is willing to open up their homes and make a difference to someone’s life is eligible to become a carer.
Both long-term and short-term caring opportunities are available. The Shared Lives team provides full training and pay for carers, working with them, and the person they are supporting, to ensure everyone has the help they need.
How do I find out more?
To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer or to refer someone to the service, please contact Vanessa Perry on 0151 703 0793 or email Vanessa.Perry@unitedresponse.org.uk
Shared Lives FAQs
What is Shared Lives?
Shared Lives is a service based in the North West of England. We match adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs with approved Shared Lives carers and their families, to live within their home. Find more information below.
Why become a Shared Lives carer?
Shared Lives offers an alternative for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, giving them the opportunity to live in an integrated family environment. This allows them to become part of a community, where they can develop relationships and grow in confidence. It can provide companionship for the carer as well as an opportunity to receive quality training and contributions towards the cost of living.
What does United Response do?
United Response provides a range of services for people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health needs, physical disabilities or who are living with dementia.
Founded in 1973 with just one service in West Sussex, United Response now supports around 3000 people, work in over 350 locations across England and Wales and employ over 3500 staff.
As well as providing support, United Response runs campaigns on the latest social care issues, organises fundraising schemes and events, and provides guidance and information via our website, as well as through various publications.
Do I receive any training? Is it free of charge?
All of our training is free of charge to carers. There are five courses that all new carers will need to take. These are first aid, safeguarding, data protection, person centred training and medication. These are repeated every two years as a “refresher”. Other training will be needed but this will depend on the needs of the person that you support.
Do I have to administer medication?
Each person supported has different needs but many people do require support with their medication. You would be given full training on how to administer and record any medication that was needed.
What qualifications do I need to be a Shared Lives carer?
No formal training is required for someone to be a Shared Lives carer, however it is preferred that you have some experience of working with people with disabilities, autism or mental health needs.
What are the disabilities of the people who I would be caring for?
Our Shared Lives service currently supports people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health needs and physical disabilities. The level of support required varies from person to person, but we will always fully explain the support a person needs when we are trying to match carers.
What additional support would I have?
Each Shared Lives carer will have a Shared Lives coordinator who will be on hand to provide advice and support when needed. The team also has an emergency telephone line which offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The person supported may also have an existing support package which may include a support worker or day service, but this will vary from person to person.
Would I need to be DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked?
Yes. The carer and every adult living in the household would need to complete a DBS check. The cost of this is covered by United Response.
Would it be a long-term or a short-term contract?
Our service tries to establish long-term placements. However we are currently also looking for carers who can provide support in the short-term or respite.
Will someone come out and visit me?
Each Shared Lives carer will have a Shared Lives coordinator. Once a placement begins the coordinator will visit every 6-12 weeks. This visit is to check that everything is going well and to see where any additional support is needed.
How much will I get paid?
On average, carers receive an allowance of approximately £500 per week; however this may vary due to the needs of each individual. They do not pay tax on this amount. Carers will also receive contributions to the household for things such as food, bills and rent.
Will I get any holiday?
Carers are entitled to up to 28 days holiday per year.
Who can I contact with questions, or to find out more?
To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer or to refer someone to the service, contact the United Response Merseyside office on 0151 703 0793 or email: Vanessa.Perry@unitedresponse.org.uk