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You are here:home > Living > Adult social care > Shared Lives

Shared Lives

Help me live a fuller life

We urgently need more Shared Lives carers from Southampton.

Please find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer today:

023 8091 7616

Shared Lives carers provide care in their home for up to three people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities or age-related conditions. This gives people needing care the opportunity to benefit from living in a domestic setting and be more independent while giving their carers the chance to fulfil a hugely rewarding care role in their own home.

We match our Shared Lives carers and clients carefully to ensure that both sides are completely happy with the care placement which could be on a long, short or respite term basis depending on the carers' and clients' needs. Neither the carers or clients are put under any pressure to accept a placement.

Shared Lives carers come from different backgrounds and can be single, married, in a relationship, or have children. They must be over 21 and have the time and space to support vulnerable people to transform their lives for the better. A separate, suitably sized bedroom is required for each client being cared for. Being a Shared Lives carer is often a suitable option for individuals who have previous experience of caring for somebody although this experience is not essential.

Shared Lives carers are given ongoing training, funding and support and can earn up to £18,000 per year (with tax relief) for each client they care for. They also receive 21 days of paid holiday each year while the client(s) receives respite care. We can complete the assessment, selection and approval process for becoming a Shared Lives carer within four months.

Shared Lives - some frequently asked questions

1. What is Shared Lives?

Shared Lives is a scheme run by Southampton City Council. Individuals and families provide care in their home for up to three people with disabilities, aged over 18. Care is offered to individuals who will benefit from living in the community or in a family home.

2. Who can be a Shared Lives carer?

Anyone aged over 21 who has the time and space in their home to offer care to a person who needs it can be a carer. This often suits people who have previously worked in care posts who now spend more time at home.

3. What should I know about Shared Lives?

If you choose to become a Shared Lives carer, you will be self-employed. A contract will be formed between you and us. We employ a Shared Lives officer to support, inspect and supervise all our carers. Most placements are long term. We also make placements for a set length of time, for example before a person moves on to independent accommodation.

4. Who might live in a house that is part of the Shared Lives scheme?

Shared Lives carers support people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities and older people.

5. Is my home suitable?

To be able to place someone in your home you need to be able to provide:
• A separate bedroom for each person. This must be of sufficient size to allow the person to have reasonable furnishings and somewhere to sit and watch television or listen to music etc.
• Furnished rooms (although some people do have their own furniture) which are in good decorative order.
• Reasonable access to a bathroom.
• The house should be safe and in good order and available for the person to use as they wish. It is permissible to impose privacy conditions on other people’s bedrooms.
• Gas and electricity must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced once a year.
• Medicines and any other hazardous substances such as cleaning materials should be kept in some form of locked storage.
• Some special insurance premiums need to be maintained.

6. What does being a Shared Lives carer involve?

Being a Shared Lives carer is a 24-hour job, in the same way as caring for a member of your family might be. It could sometimes involve assisting a person during the night or being there in the day if they are ill, but the majority of the time they will be as any other member of your family.  Individuals placed with you live as members of your family and should be treated as you would wish another member of your family to be. Care should be offered according to the person’s need. This could involve a range of tasks, for example:
• Helping to manage their money and their benefits.
• Helping them to take their medicine.
• Offering personal care such as washing hair or bathing.
• Doing their laundry.
• Accompanying them when they are out.
• Teaching domestic tasks.
• Helping to improve their social skills.
• Taking them on holiday.
• Accompanying them to appointments.
• Ensuring they can see their own family.
• Helping them get to work or college.
• Protecting them from abuse and discrimination.

7. Can I choose who I care for?

You will have a choice in who is placed with you. You will be registered to offer care for the care groups that you choose and are assessed to provide care for. All placements are made to suit you and the individual.

8. How much will I be paid?

This is assessed according to the needs of the individual placed. It is usually paid as a combination of a contribution from the individual’s benefits and a top up from Health and Adult Social Care. For current rates contact the Shared Lives officer.

We ask you to invoice us and payment is made once a month.

If the placement is long term we also pay for the person to go on holiday or into respite care for up to 21 days per year. This allows you to have a break. During this time you will be paid 50 per cent of your normal rate.

You have the potential to earn up to £31,000 before tax. The HM Revenue & Customs website has more information about the financial rewards of being a Shared Lives carer.

9. What happens next?

Once you have expressed an interest, we will arrange a suitable time for a member of our team to visit you in your home. During this meeting, we will explain the types of Shared Lives placements available, discuss our assessment procedure and answer any questions you have. If you decide that you would like to become a Shared Lives carer, we will start our assessment and training process.

10. What does the assessment involve?

Our assessment procedure normally takes between three to four months. This includes several visits to your home to meet all family members. You will be trained and prepared for the task ahead.  Police checks, personal references and medical history checks are undertaken prior to a full assessment. A criminal record will not necessarily disqualify you as a carer. All records are taken into consideration as part of the assessment.

Downloadable documents

Icon Name of file Size Download time
PDF document Shared Lives care leaflet 705 KB 2secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

Contact information