What is Shared Lives?
Shared Lives (previously called adult placement) is an established and successful way of helping adults who need support to live in our community. Shared Lives forms a significant part of the services offered by Croydon Social Services to meet the needs of vulnerable adults who live in the London Borough of Croydon.
We assess applicants and supervise carers within the scheme, who are committed to share their home, interests, skills and experiences, providing quality care and support to access the community and enhance the quality of life both inside and outside the home.
The scheme ensures good practice and safeguarding standards are met and maintained. We provide training for carers and the scheme is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Supporting People.
Can I be a Shared Lives carer?
If you live in the London Borough of Croydon and are a couple, a single person, or a family with or without children, you can apply to be a Shared Lives carer. You need to have one, two or three spare rooms at home too.
What sort of person are you looking for?
We are looking for people who are committed, caring and sensitive to the needs and emotions of others. Croydon is a multi-cultural borough and our aim is to provide Shared Lives carers who reflect our diversity, enabling us to offer this unique care and support resource to Croydon residents with assessed needs.
Do I need to have experience?
Work experience is not always necessary, as training and support will be provided through the scheme once you have been approved. Some carers have had experience of working in social care, but others have transferable skills from other areas of their life. What is important is that you are enthusiastic, committed, caring, encouraging and sensitive to others' needs and differences.
Do I have to live in the London Borough of Croydon?
Yes. Shared Lives is delivered locally by our local community. Staying in Croydon is important to many individuals within the scheme so they can stay connected with friends and family.
Do I have to own my home?
No. Many people provide care and support whilst living in rented accommodation. Please ensure you have agreement from your property management agent first.
Is my home suitable?
Alongside communal areas within your home you will need to have one, two or three spare rooms that can be used as bedrooms to provide comfortable accommodation.
How do I become a Shared Lives carer?
If you are interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer complete the Shared Lives Application form. When we have received your form we will contact you to discuss your application and view your property. The assessment process is a series of meetings with you based upon a self-assessment which you complete. Successful applicants are put to an independent panel once all the checks and references are back.
How long does it take to become a Shared Lives carer?
The process of assessment takes approximately three months to complete from first home visit to panel approval. We can then feel confident that you are suitably prepared for the role.
What support will I receive?
All Shared Lives carers are recruited and trained. Carers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Supporting People. Being part of Shared Lives means being part of a professional team; you have access to a variety of mentoring support channels and training. This will help to maintain and enhance your skills to provide quality care in your home.
Do I need additional people to help me?
Yes. All main carer applicants need to have additional carers to help provide a consistent quality service of support and care to people who are placed. The number of additional carers will be agreed with the scheme depending on your circumstances and the number of places you are offering. Additional carers are your friends and family who are happy to support your paid role as a carer. You nominate who you wish to be the additional carers for you. They will also need to apply and undertake a short assessment.
What are the benefits of being a Shared Lives carer for Croydon?
Carers say that being a Shared Lives carer is a positive and rewarding experience. You can help make a difference to the life of a vulnerable adult in Croydon. You can work flexibly to suit the needs of those you support and your own commitments. Shared Lives carers are self-employed: you are not employees of the scheme or of Croydon Council.
What sort of allowances and benefits are available?
Being a Shared Lives main carer is a paid role. Sharing your home and your family life is a big commitment and whilst not primarily motivated by financial reward, there is a need to make a living as a paid professional carer and we acknowledge and value the role undertaken. The standard rate fee from April 2015 is £291.65 per week. This is the fee paid for the care and support as described in the Standard Provision of Care document which gives a good idea of the carer role and the requirements expected for the standard fee. Additional fees payable are based on an assessment of support needs of the person placed and any additional need over the standard provision will attract an additional fee. All fees are agreed before placement.
Income from being a Shared Lives carer is viewed in a similar way to that of foster carers. Further information can be found on the HMRC help sheet which can be downloaded from their website.
Who uses the Scheme?
Shared Lives is currently used by people with a learning disability, mental health needs, older people and people with a physical disability. Their needs are assessed by a care manager or care co-ordinator.
The types of care needed include short term, long time and planned respite care. The expectations of a carer are set out in the Standard Provision of Care document.
Any additional care and support you may be asked to provide would attract an additional fee and could include:
- personal care; washing and dressing
- providing additional emotional support
- helping the person to manage their money
- accompanying the person to extra medical and other appointments
Croydon Lodgings for Families is a separate service that comes under the umbrella of Shared Lives to provide support for homeless single parents under twenty-five.
How can I apply?
Please apply online, the link will take you to the main carer application form and the additional carer application form.
If you wish to talk to one of the team in Shared Lives please ring 020 8726 6000 ex 63516.
Croydon Shared Lives, Floor 2, Zone E, Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA. Email: email@example.com
Further information can be found at Shared Lives Plus, the national association for shared lives schemes and carers.