Green light for Shared Lives scheme expansion
A valued service that helps people to live as part of a loving family is being expanded in a bid to help more people with social care needs.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Shared Lives scheme, which is one of only 10 schemes in the country rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, helps adults who need support to live more independently in the community and provides an alternative to residential care.
Councillors have today approved funding for four additional Shared Lives co-ordinator posts in a bid to expand the scheme and recruit an extra 50 long term carers and 50 short breaks carers over the next three – five years. There are currently 67 total carer households providing support for 79 people.
Shared Lives carers are paid to support people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health needs or older people to in the carer’s own home and be part of their family and community. Carers can offer a range of support including long term live-in care, short breaks and outreach support. Shared Lives is also developing a new ‘home from hospital’ service for people who have been discharged following an operation or illness and need some short-term support until they are fit to return to their own home.
Councillor Tony Harper, Chair of Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “Shared Lives is a wonderful scheme that helps to develop people’s independence and allows them to enjoy the benefits of living as part of a family.
“Our existing group of carers do a fantastic job and we are incredibly grateful for the work they do. But with a quarter of our carers approaching retirement age, it is important that we recruit more carers across the county. This additional investment shows our commitment to expanding the scheme.”
Hayley Zemontas is a Shared Lives carer from Newark who supports Chantell: “I think it works because we’re both a similar age. It doesn’t feel like I’m her carer. She feels comfortable going out with me and being seen with me because she could just be out with a friend. It enriches your life as well as somebody else’s. You’ve got this other person who will bring so much to your life as well as you giving your skills to them and helping them grow as a person.”
Kelly and Ross Crowther are Shared Lives carers from Mansfield who support Sarah. Kelly said: “Sarah needed somewhere to stay as a forever home. We’ve built such a great bond in such a short space of time. Sarah had been brought up in a family environment in a loving home and that’s what we wanted to continue to give her.”
Ross said: “You’ve got a good support network around you and you’ve got the ability to commit to certain hours that work. You can balance life and work in equal measure. You can work a full-time job and still be a shared lives carer.”
Shared Lives carers are paid depending on the level of need of the person they care for. They receive training and ongoing support. Find out more and apply at: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sharedlives