October newsletter and UK conference

  Shared Lives Plus
October newsletter While Covid-19 continues to loom large, Homeshare organisations, Shared Lives carers and those they care for continue to show great resilience during exceptionally challenging times. Our latest newsletter begins with one of the highlights of our forthcoming UK’s shared living conference where we will joined by, among others, internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur Hilary Cottam:     This sought-after webinar will be chaired by author and former Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting. Joining Madeleine and Hilary will be Shared Lives Plus ambassadors Tom Milnes and Meg Lewis, along with CEO Alex Fox OBE, with the discussion focusing on how person-centred health, care and support services will help people to thrive and live more fulfilling lives.    Book your place now!   2020 theme: Kindness Delegates and keynote speakers such as Madeleine Bunting and speakers from the Carnegie Trust, people with lived experience and our UK-wide team, will all be contributing to our annual conference, as we work towards our vision of a kinder, stronger society built on sharing our lives and our homes.      Shared Lives care championed in latest CQC report
We are proud to have been highlighted in the new CQC guidance covering the regulation of services for people with autism or a learning disability. The ‘Right support, right care, right culture’ report outlines how providers should demonstrate they are meeting CQC requirements and also features a Shared Lives scheme, rated ‘outstanding’, as one of its case studies. Read more here…

This week, the CQC also released its ‘State of care’ report, which shows that Shared Lives outperforms all other forms of social care!      Did you know your Shared Lives scheme could save you half a million pounds a year? We offer strategic advice to local authorities and Shared Lives schemes to help develop, diversify and grow Shared Lives. You can read the latest blog from Mark Gallagher, strategic advice and support manager, or find out more here…   If you’ve not already, do keep in touch and sign up to my not-so regular newsletters. Until next time, take care and stay safe,

Chief Executive, Shared Lives Plus
NHS Assembly Member, Vice Chair: Think Local, Act Personal     Subscribe to Alex Fox’s newsletter

A Shared Lives carer view

This guest post is by Shared Lives carer and ex-marine, Phil, who tweets as @SharedLives4. Thanks Phil!

I write this brief note aware that it does not have the polish of a seasoned writer on the subject, so please forgive me for the rudimentary mistakes of grammar etc.

However I felt compelled to write it after attending the Shared Lives Conference in London last week.  I attended the conference for the first time last week and if I’m honest I was pleasantly surprised to attend a Social Care / Health Conference, which spoke of the critical importance the Carers were to the progress of the Charity.

 I made the trip on behalf of my wife, who is the main carer in our household. She came to UK 12 years ago from Uzbekistan and struck up a close friendship with my aunty Elsa and it was not long after that that she became passionate about the ethos and concept of Shared Lives.

I have to admit I travelled to the conference with a feeling of trepidation Continue reading

Shared Lives Week 2: this time it’s personal

This week has been our second Shared Lives week. It’s a way for us to spread the word about Shared Lives and dozens of schemes this year have organised local events. At our UK conference this week, Shared Lives carers told us how frustrating it could be to be willing and able to share their family home, and yet to find that, in some cases, they waited years rather than months to be matched with someone who needed support, because front line social workers still don’t understand the model, or even know it exists.

We can’t afford to waste the talents and enthusiasm of people who have gone through the in-depth Shared Lives approval process and are willing to offer so much. It was humbling to talk to Shared Lives carers Stuart and Bobby from Brighton, both former nurses who decided to make the change to Shared Lives because they felt it was better to ‘offer a lot to a small group of people, rather than a tiny bit to lots of people’. They share their family life with people who other services have considered ‘challenging’ but who are living happily with them.

Graham and Lorna draw on their combined expertise of having been a hotelier and a care business manager to offer life-changing support to people who again have been labelled ‘challenging’. They explained how they start every day sitting down with the people they support to discuss the day before and plan the day ahead. They keep animals and grow produce, even supporting one of the people who lives with them to start up her own micro-business raising chickens. 

To spread the word about what its Shared Lives folk are achieving, the Shropshire Shared Lives scheme enlisted the local town crier. As you can see, we have some great pictures of people who use Shared Lives shouting out the message with him. (Frustratingly, the local press photographer was shropshire town criermore interested in the photos he took of a young woman who briefly joined in the town crying. My colleagues explained that, photogenic as she was, she had nothing to do with the Shared Lives story. But the paper still used a picture of her, thus excluding the people who use Shared Lives from their publication.)

Our conference this year was sold out, with around 150 people from across the UK (and one from Australia!) gathering to share their experiences, hatch new plans for working together, and to hear from sector leaders. The event was co-chaired by Haringey’s Shared Lives scheme Coordinator, Andy, who is also one of our trustees with Asif, who is supported by Shared Lives carers in Glasgow.

Asif, who is in his early twenties and originally from Pakistan, explained that English isn’t his first language and that this was his first time speaking to a large audience. That didn’t stop him Continue reading

Shared Lives Plus UK Conference October 22nd & 23rd

Our biennial UK conference is going to be a good one this year in Euston, London. Sandie Keene will speak at our dinner reception which kicks off the conference on the evening of the 22nd. Sandie is Director, Adult Social Services, Leeds and President of ADASS. Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People is our keynote speaker in the morning of the 23rd and Care Minister, Norman Lamb MP is the afternoon’s keynote. Both will have the opportunity to talk to Shared Lives carers and people who use Shared Lives. There is a full programme of workshops for Shared Lives carers, providers and commissioners. Book your place at www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/ukconference

Helium balloons at the AGM


Here’s a guest blog from Simon Taylor (simon@sharedlivesplus.org.uk), who supports our micro-enterprise members:

Inflation at the AGM

A fascinating couple of days: Shared Lives Plus is now 20 years old and the staff team are inflating helium balloons to deck the tables set for dinner after the Annual General Meeting. Our production line is only occasionally frustrated by the loss of a balloon and its ribbon into the lighting space above the conference facility. Based in Liverpool, the town of our head office, the celebrations and the AGM went splendidly and the following day’s conference also exceeded our expectations.

Celebrations and successes

The celebration focused on the huge steps made in the reach of the Shared Lives model, embodied in ‘Shared Lives Week’ events: www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/en/conferencesevents/shared-lives-week/.  Also my own area of concern, for the micro-enterprise providers of care and support, was not forgotten and I was up early the next day to finalise preparations for my workshop. This was on how delivering micro-enterprise services can also be a choice for Shared Lives Carers.

Help @Home

The workshop highlighted some of Shared Lives Plus’ micro-enterprise members who have benefited from our support. Micro-enterprises deliver personalised services in their locality and collectively offer a marketplace that represents real choice and control for people who buy their services.

Delegates were particularly impressed by Dee who worked in the voluntary sector for more than 15 years with vulnerable adults and saw how they struggled with everyday activities, especially when they did not have any relatives or friends nearby.  Thus she saw a need, set up Help @ Home and now offers support Continue reading