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

You’ll never walk alone

As lockdown starts to ease, our members continue to be under pressure like never before and so we wanted to share with you signs of hope and inspiration for our communities after a wonderful week of celebrating Shared Lives carers.

Knowing that we couldn’t meet up in “real life” this year, we made as big a noise online as possible about their Shared Lives carers’ magnificent achievements. We campaigned for their income to be covered for those that have lost income due to lockdown cancelling day support or short breaks and recognition that Shared Lives care is not a 24/7 service for those that open their homes long-term. We released new independent research which shows there is wide appetite for shared living and Shared Lives households met with one of our strongest political supportersSign up to my not-so regular newsletters

  • Community celebrations across the UK
  • New research shows appetite for shared living
  • Shared Lives carers meet Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care

At a time when connecting with others has never been as difficult, or as important, we were so proud to show our network walking on through the storm in the premiere of a special film already seen by thousands. If you’ve not seen it yet, let your spirits be lifted and treat yourself to four minutes of pure joy.

Community celebrations around the UK
Across the network, schemes and Shared Lives families got together to celebrate in virtual tea parties, using new skills from our social media training sessions. It was great to see the momentum all over the country – silly hats in the West Midlands with CVT, a beautiful chorus of voices singing “You’ve got a friend in me” in Surrey, handmade cakes in Stoke,  visiting carers with gifts in Bury, bingo and quizzes in Ayrshire – to name just a few.

Kirklees shared a hand-written note from a person supported in Shared Lives which everyone loved, probably because it talked about feeling “more grown-up” rather than “building independence” in professional jargon. Shared Lives Hertfordshire created fantastic, polished videos introducing Shared Lives matches in a warm, intimate and informative way – like Michael and Linda’s story. Linda’s not very good at the Wii, but she’s fun and has changed Michael’s life so that he “doesn’t feel alone anymore.”

Our own social media performance saw a huge spike in engagement – over 1000% increase on Facebook and Twitter- which was a timely boost given our recent research which told us that nearly 70% of people haven’t heard of Shared Lives and Homeshare.

New research shows appetite for shared living

New research by Survation, of 1000 people, also showed that there is appetite for shared living – 65% of people would prefer to share their homes with someone of similar interests to them, and 37% of people who live alone would consider sharing their homes with someone of similar interests, once coronavirus has been fully addressed.

Over half of the respondents to the poll felt that the government hadn’t done enough to address the issue of loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud that Shared Lives and Homeshare are still open for business and are helping to combat isolation. We call on government to help the people who want to live together for mutual support to reach the solutions that already exist and recognise that home is one of the safest places to be, especially with someone who’s always looking out for you.

Shared Lives carers meeting with Shadow Minister for Social care
We’ve been working hard to promote shared living across the political spectrum, and we were delighted to meet up with the Shadow Minister for Social Care, Liz Kendall MP, and Shared Lives households (pictured above), to share the experiences of real Shared Lives with her. We’ve also invited the Minister of Social Care to meet with Shared Lives carers and working with DHSC, LGA and ADASS on PPE, pay and restarting day support/short breaks.

Kendall is a long-standing supporter of Shared Lives and said that the Zoom session was “the most uplifting conversation I’ve had during this crisis.” She will help us to press the government on issues such as PPE, respite and day services re-opening, and in the long term supports our vision of a different way of living with and looking after each other.

Last week I wrote about how the conspicuous Continue reading