At their first Independent Panel of 2020, Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives recruited another four carers to their ever growing scheme developing across Dudley Borough and the surrounding Black Country area. That is now an incredible 17 new households since September 2018, but 40 in total.
Although still relatively unknown, Shared Lives is a unique model of personalised support and accommodation, with a very strong track record of transforming lives, going back years. Schemes like Camphill Village Trust recruit and offer specialist training to carers, who open up their home to support people with additional/complex needs, not only to be part of a family to generate a sense of belonging, but also provide a life of opportunity, which they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Shared Lives is extremely flexible, and the person is carefully matched to live or stay on either a live-in, short-break or day support basis. So, someone might come and live permanently with carers, have weekend respite or just a session during the day or night and be supported to access local amenities/activities.
The aim of Shared Lives is to always support the person to develop the practical, social and emotional skills to lead as independent life as possible, whilst remaining at the heart of the community. The assessment process which involves an Enhanced DBS check, employment/life history and references, can take between three to six months before being approved by an independent panel. Being part of a registered scheme, Shared Lives carers are paid according to the level of support they provide and because of their self-employed status, also qualify for tax relief.
Whilst the £8bn slashed from local government social care budgets since 2010 (Adass), continues to take its toll on the most vulnerable in society, the Shared Lives model is seen as a cost-effective alternative to other traditional care settings, saving up to £1m for every 100 people supported. Anecdotally the outcomes are inspiring and people are known to lead longer, healthier, happier lives when part of Shared Lives.
The annual report carried out by Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for supportive shared living, notes there are 132 Shared Lives schemes across England, with approximately 12,500 people being supported by just over 9,000 carers, in a sector that has grown by 34% since 2012 (SLP 2019). Shared Lives is also recognised by the government’s inspection body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as the safest and best quality form of adult social care, with 96% of all schemes being rated as either Good or Outstanding.
Registered Manager, Kate Morgan, also the first recipient of the national Shared Lives Champion of the Year Award 2019, said “Since we have established the scheme across Dudley and surrounding Black Country area, we have been very successful in recruiting seventeen households, including six from local Black and Asian communities. We believe Shared Lives appeals to particular households which value a sense of community, empowerment and strong connections to wider family networks. We are just overwhelmed with the response, as we always wished the mix of our carers to be representative of neighbourhoods in which they live.”
“Shared Lives provides a great opportunity for those people with the right values and commitment to develop a social care career, in what is such a rewarding role. It really does challenge the assumptions of what people who require extra support can achieve whilst living within the comfort of an ordinary home, but with extra-ordinary carers.”
To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer with the Camphill Village Trust scheme, please call on 01384 441505 or go to: www.camphillvillagetrust.org.uk