Shared Lives Plus


Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for family-based and small-scale ways of supporting adults.

Shared Lives is a way of unlocking the resources of thousands of families who do not currently provide family care. It takes ‘family care’ as a model and creates a structure within which individuals, couples and families who do not currently care for a relative can provide support, housing and most importantly a sense of belonging for adults not related to them.

There are 10,000 Shared Lives carers in the UK. They share their family and community life with someone who needs some support to live independently. This might be as simple as an individual offering a day out for an older person with dementia, rather than them visiting a day centre. Or it might be a longer term arrangement where a family offer a room and some support to an adult with a learning disability, mental health problem or a care leaver, rather than them rely on state care.

Shared Lives is 20 years old and now has 152 local schemes to recruit, train and support around 10,000 registered Shared Lives carers (individuals, couples and their families). These people have been matched with nearly 15,000 adults who need support and/or accommodation.

Shared Lives Plus is also backing a number of innovations in the caring market including Tyze, an online platform to activate caring networks, and scores of tiny ‘micro-enterprises’, in which small groups of workers and people who need support get together to design highly tailored services and innovations. Its sister organisation, a social enterprise called Community Catalysts helps micro-entrepreneurs to start-up or develop and councils to avoid stifling their creativity by inadvertent over-regulation or heavy-handed commissioning practices.

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