Helen Whately, Minister of Sate for Social Care, met new and long-term Shared Lives carers during Shared Lives Week this week, as well as the social care staff who approved record number of carers under the pressure of the pandemic, using adapted assessment processes.
My colleague Phoebe Barber-Rowell, who leads our communications, writes:
The carers included some of the 200 just recently recruited by a successful DHSC-backed campaign using the Covid emergency fund. The carers described to the minister Shared Lives supports 15000 people across the country, accounting for just 1% of social care provision overall – and yet it is consistently, officially ranked by both the CQC and the people who use it as the safest, highest quality form of social care there is.
In a reverse of typical care services, the new roles, created by Shared Lives Plus, are the ‘ultimate post-pandemic job opportunity’ and point towards the much-discussed topic of the future of social care, as they see carers provide personalised Shared Lives support in the carer’s home – on either a long-term, respite or day-support basis.
Emily and Allen Portwood are Shared Lives carers based in Warrington and have opened up their home to two young adults, Molly and Tyler. Emily said: “To us, this isn’t a job, it’s about providing a home, security and happiness within our family for those who need it.
“We got into it because Allen, who is a former policeman and has his own MOT garage, was really inspired to help young adults. We looked at all the options and Shared Lives was the perfect choice – there are no unsociable hours away from our family and we can just include them in our lives. We have a big family already – it’s just got a little bigger!”
The jobs follow a £300,000 funding boost from the government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, aimed at rapid recruitment of Shared Lives carers across the UK. Helen Whately, Minister of State for Social Care, said: “The pandemic has shown us the increased need for social care which offers more freedom, independence and choices and enables people to strengthen relationships which are so vital to our mental and physical health.
“I’m delighted that Shared Lives Plus, under the extraordinary pressure of the pandemic, with the support of government’s Covid Emergency Fund, has ambitiously transformed the way local authority and independent Shared Lives schemes recruit and assess potential carers supported by online technology, to provide innovative Shared Lives support in their own home. Shared Lives services, funded by our Covid Emergency Fund have exceeded their ambitious recruitment targets. A huge thank you to everyone involved and for all you do. I’m delighted to welcome 200 new Shared Lives carers, over the last six months, into the social care workforce, with over 100 people moving in with their new Shared Lives carer and benefiting from the safest and best quality form of social care available. The opportunity now that I really want to support, is to scale it up so that even more people can be part of Shared Lives households.”
Laura, who lives with her Shared Lives carer, asked the Minister a question. Here’s Laura’s question and Helen’s answer: