We had a very positive response to the Telegraph newspaper feature on Shared Lives. My colleague, Sian Lockwood OBE, who is CEO of our sister organisation Community Catalysts has posted this blog:
Many of you will have seen the article in the Saturday Telegraph magazine this week about a Shared Lives family in West Wales (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9162817/Shared-Lives-the-families-who-foster-vulnerable-adults.html). It is a wonderful description of the way Shared Lives works for everyone involved and comments from people responding to the web-version of the article were heart-warmingly appreciative. But this is not an unusual family – Shared Lives across the UK has many stories like this in which people who need some support have the opportunity to share and enrich the lives of the people supporting them. Everyone involved would say they benefit and for people needing support the service they get is far more individual than can be provided by more traditional providers. The great outcomes provided through Shared Lives should be enough justification in themselves for local authority commissioners. The cost-argument though is even more compelling! I recently carried out a cost-comparison for a medium-sized local authority-run Shared Lives scheme. Just under 100 people were living (in ones and twos) with Shared Lives families. I compared the cost of their support with the cost of providing the same people with residential care or supported tenancies, using the 2011 figures provided by the Personal Social Services Research Unit. I was extremely careful to ensure we compared like-for-like (eg: adding the cost of the Scheme and day care costs to the payments to the Shared Lives carers) and was astounded by the savings. Comparing costs with residential care the savings generated by Shared Lives were an amazing £2.5m – and even more (£3.75m) comparing Shared Lives costs against an equivalent supported tenancy. Read the rest of Sian’s blog here.