Around 15,000 people across the UK use the service, with Shared Lives carers being vetted and supported by local Shared Lives schemes. Central to Shared Lives is the creation of a bond between the carer and the recipient of care, and often they will become a genuine part of the family.
Many people with a mental health need or some form of disability end up in residential care, unable to live an independent, ordinary life. Shared Lives and their system of pairing vulnerable adults with caring families allows individuals to take control of their own lives while having the support they need. Aside from living with a family, some individuals will come for short stays, providing much needed respite for their usual carers.
The Shared Lives Incubator was established to help pump-prime the growth of Shared Lives social care, delivering better outcomes for individuals and cost savings for local authorities. With funds from four social investors, the Incubator is working closely with councils and providers in Manchester, Lambeth, Thurrock and Haringey and has helped to raise awareness of the benefits of Shared Lives as a model of care. In each, the team have worked in partnership with the commissioners to scope the potential for growing Shared Lives, jointly procure the new service and provide start-up funding and operational support.