What Makes a Good Shared Lives Carer?

What Makes a Good Shared Lives Carer?

Let’s hear from the experts

And who better to answer this question than the experts themselves? Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives Scheme spent a day with a group of willing volunteers and here is what they said…

Thursday 2nd May 2024 marked a day of local elections across the country. An opportunity for local residents to share their views and influence change in the area in which they live. So, it was poignant that on this date we gathered at the Bob Jones Community Hub in Wolverhampton to listen to most important people in Shared Lives; those who provide a service, and those who receive one. 

What is Shared Lives?

Shared Lives supports adults with additional and complex needs to live or stay with a specially recruited Shared Lives Carer in their own home. The aim of Shared Lives is to support the person to develop the practical, social and emotional skills to lead as independent life as possible, whilst remaining at the heart of the community. 

The role of a Shared Lives Carer is unique in the social care sector, and requires the Carer to commit, not only to supporting an individual achieve their goals and aspirations, but also to involving the person as part of their own family and home. As such, the process to become a Shared Lives Carer needs to be robust, and schemes must ensure that the values of the carers are sound.  

What did they say?

We asked a group of individuals supported by Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives what makes a good Shared Lives Carer? The group got to work, and we were blown away by the considered and insightful contributions from the group.  

  • “Someone who understand my needs and that I can trust”.
  • “A person who is really passionate about caring, who is respectful and patient”.
  • “Someone who will include me as part of their family – and give me a feeling of belonging”.

Shared Lives team

Reena Kaypee, Shared Lives Area Coordinator planned and facilitated the day. Reena comments: “The people who use our service, and the carers are the true experts in our organisation and the reason why Shared Lives exists. I wanted to arrange this event to hear the voices of people we support, along with their suggestions and positive stories. It was such a lovely day, so inspiring, fun, positive, and personally motivated me with new ideas to develop our awesome service.  

I hoped to identify willing volunteers to act as our experts, and support us with the Carer assessment process, to interview new applicants and help with promotional activities, embedding our co-productive ethos. It’s so important that we involve the people we support, as the service is for and about them, so having their input is so valuable.  

The event was also used as a platform for people who we support and carers to network and an opportunity to interact with others – I was so pleased to see a few new friendships blooming! I couldn’t have been happier about how successful the event turned out to be, we had some brilliant ideas, which we will be busy working on! Bring on the next event!!”

What’s next? 

The day ended with reflections about how the service can improve and how our small but mighty group can spread the word about Shared Lives even further.

Kate Morgan, Head of Service noted: “Shared Lives is such a fantastic model of support and offers really powerful outcomes for the people we support. Our Shared Lives Carers encourage and empower the people who live or stay with them to step outside their comfort zones enabling develop greater independence. This has been evident through the discussions during the group workshop, and we hope to utilise this energy and momentum to promote the service more widely.” 

Carol Terry, Shared Lives Carer of almost 20 years said: “Today has warmed my heart to see the people we support speak about the things that are so important to them. I have been a carer for over 40 years, and it still gives me such a good feeling to help others develop and grow”.  

Camphill Village Trust have a number of plans for the upcoming Shared Lives Week in June 2024, so watch this space for more information. 

Become a Shared Lives Carer

The role of a Shared Lives Carer is for anyone with the right values and commitment, and of course, a spare bedroom. You can be paid up to £650+ per week (tax free), depending on the level of support you provide. 

Shared Lives Carers, West Midlands, Camphill Village Trust

Want to know more?

To find out more information about becoming a Shared Lives carer with the Camphill Village Trust scheme, then please call on 01384 441505 or visit our Shared Lives page.

Follow us on Twitter: @CVTSharedLives or Facebook: @cvtsharedlives.                     

Or find out about a scheme in your local area. 

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