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26 September 2016

Council launches new Shared Lives scheme with search for carers

Shared Lives2

A new option for adults in Cumbria who need support! Cumbria County Council is delighted to launch Shared Lives Cumbria - a scheme that matches adults who need support with host carers who provide them with respite, day support or long term care in the carer’s home. The council is recruiting new Shared Lives carers to provide this valuable and much-needed service in Cumbria, and is encouraging potential carers to get in touch.

Shared Lives is all about one household sharing their lives, families, home, interests, experience and skills with other people who need some support to live their life to the full as part of their local community.

Councillor Beth Furneux, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

“Shared Lives is well established in other parts of the country and provides a fantastic opportunity for adults who need some support to live happy and healthy lives as part of their local community. We’re looking for new carers to come forward who are patient, understanding and compassionate - that’s all you need to make a difference to people’s lives.  All Shared Lives carers receive a generous allowance from the council as well as full support, training and guidance from the council team.  We need more people to provide this valuable service in Cumbria, and really hope this recruitment campaign will encourage more potential carers to come forward.”   

Libby Potts is a full time Shared Lives carer, having previously offered part time respite care for many years. Libby is a Shared Lives carer for Wayne, who has Down Syndrome, and Daniel, who has learning difficulties.  They live with Libby in her home in Carlisle.  Libby said:

“My motivation was just to help people to experience an ordinary family life, and I have learned so much from my time with Daniel and Wayne - they are part of my family now and I love watching them develop and helping them to live as independently as they are able to. I’d urge anyone who has some free space, plenty of time, and a big heart to get involved with Shared Lives - it’s so rewarding and you’ll get all the support and guidance you need from the team, plus the allowance.  You’ll never look back.”

The scheme offers a rewarding and flexible route in to adult social care and enables both the carer and service user to get the most out of their arrangement - service users benefit from enjoying a stable family life environment, whilst being free to work, play, learn and socialise as they like; carers are able to offer their services based on their own circumstances, lifestyle and availability. In Shared Lives, everyone gets to contribute to real relationships and the goal is ordinary family life.

Carers receive an allowance from the council as well as a contribution to their living expenses from the Shared Lives service user. Carers are also supported by a key support worker and receive full training and guidance throughout their experience as a Shared Lives carer.


Shared Lives service users can be adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems, elderly people, disabled children becoming young adults, parents with learning disabilities and their children, recovering substance addicts or ex-offenders. There are already 12,000 Shared Lives carers in the UK, recruited, trained and approved by 150 local schemes, which are regulated by the government’s social care inspectors.

Shared Lives carers and service users get to know each other through a series of informal meetings.  If they both feel that they will be able to form a long-term bond, they begin to share family and community life.  This can mean that the individual becomes a regular daytime or overnight visitor to the Shared Lives carer's household, or (for 4,500 people in England) it means that the individual moves in with the Shared Lives carer on a permanent basis. These relationships can be life-long.

Shared Lives works because it is delivered in the local community by the local community and because´┐Ż

* Shared Lives is delivered by highly motivated and compassionate people who do it because they love to see the huge difference they can make to someone’s life.

* Shared Lives means people can live independent lives without having to be alone.

* Shared Lives is based on friendship, love and caring.

For more information, or to apply to be a Shared Lives carer, visit cumbria.gov.uk/sharedlives or call 01228 226053 (North) 01229 404005 (South)
Cumbria County Council is delighted to launch Shared Lives Cumbria - a scheme that matches adults who need support with host carers who provide them with respite