Do you have what it takes to become a Shared Lives Carer?

It is a little over a year now since Camphill Village Trust have been providing a Shared Lives scheme on behalf of Dudley MBC and they are really raising the profile of this innovative service right across the Borough. As a starting point, Shared Lives is similar to ‘foster care for adults who have additional and/or complex needs’…. but it’s so much more than that, as the person is enabled to make their own choices in life, take control and maximise their independence. The person is carefully matched to stay with specially trained Shared Lives Carers who provide individual support to develop practical skills, encourage new social networks, build self-esteem and lead the same ordinary life at the heart of the community just like you and me. Currently, the scheme supervises 38 households, who in turn support 42 people.

To become a Shared Lives Carer, you don’t need any qualifications or experience of working in the care industry (though it can help), you just need the right values, dedication…and of course a spare room. You should be over 21 years of age, be able to read and write English and be committed to undertaking training and supervision for the continued development of your role. Shared Lives Carers are not paid by the hour, there is no ‘clocking on and clocking off’ when you are supporting someone from within your own home, but it’s a hugely rewarding role. Shared Lives Carers have self-employed status and qualify for tax relief from HMRC. You are paid according to the level of support you provide, which can sometimes include personal care, often between £380-£570 per week. You can even continue with your current employment and be a Shared Lives Carer at the same time.

The scheme will provide a comprehensive induction programme and on-going support to ensure that the highest quality of care is maintained throughout each Shared Lives Arrangement. An Enhanced DBS Check and references are also required. Training will take place in your own home, via e-learning and also as a group at our community hub in Stourbridge. The Assessment process can take between 3-6 months. Once approved by an Independent Panel, you are carefully matched with a Person who comes to stay/live with you on either a live-in, short-break or day-support basis.

Registered Manager, Kate Morgan, added ‘Our partner Dudley Council, is very ambitious for the scheme to expand significantly in the future and we have already recruited 16 households  over the last year or so. The demand for the service, means there is a continual need to recruit dedicated Carers and by joining our Scheme, caring people can build a paid career from their own home, doing a role they love and which is very much valued by all those involved. If Carers do not own their own home, then they would need to seek permission from their landlord to provide Shared Lives. Dudley CVS have recently filmed five short videos for us, so if anyone is interested they should visit our website at: to have a look. For further information, please give us a call on 01384 441505 and we would be more than happy to speak with you.’

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for Dudley MBC Health and Social Care, said, ‘We’re really pleased to see how well the service is doing in its first 12 months. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when the council works closely with experienced providers. We appreciate the hard work and commitment of the Shared Lives Carers in opening their homes to support people and I would encourage anyone who thinks they have what it takes to get in touch with the scheme.