150th Shared Lives carer sought during recruitment drive

The Oxfordshire Shared Lives programme provides care for adults in a number of ways which could involve placing them in a family home setting where carers share their life with somebody who needs a level of support to live independently.

Carers from every walk of life

There are currently 141 carers involved in the county council-run scheme and its senior practitioner Ali Gackowski is hoping to have more than 150 following special information drop-in events during May in Oxfordshire.

She said: "Oxfordshire Shared Lives is an innovative way of providing care and has been putting people together with carers in this way for 25 years.

"There are adults in Oxfordshire who need care and support but they either do not want or need high levels of residential care. In many cases, a member of their family or a close friend provides what is needed. But sometimes this is not possible.

"Shared Lives carers come from every walk of life. Some join with considerable experience of providing support, others have no experience at all, but all do have the right qualities and approach, which involves being enthusiastic, caring, committed and sensitive to others' needs.

"We are hoping to get our 150th Shared Lives carer recruit from our public information events and I look forward to meeting people interested in this field at them"

Range of support offered

Some of the people that Shared Lives carers support include disabled adults; older people with dementia; people with mental health problems; care leavers and disabled children in transition to adulthood.

Support provided is flexible and can range from going out for coffee or to the cinema, to offering overnight stays in their own home or even having someone to live with them as part of their family.

Typically carers are paid between £300 to £400 per week per person they support. The scheme offers training, payment and on-going professional support and is a great option for people looking to work from home.

Ms Gackowski said: "One of the best ways of providing people with the kind of care they require is to offer them the chance to stay in a Shared Lives carer's home. Or they can be supported in their own home by a Shared Lives carer.

"The service gives vulnerable or disabled adults this opportunity, enabling them to live as independently as possible by sharing in the carer's family life."

The dates, times and venues for the drop-in events are:

  • Thursday 8 May, 3.30pm-6.30pm, Oxford Options Health and Wellbeing Centre, Awgar Stone Road, Horspath Driftway, Oxford
  • Tuesday 13 May, 3.30pm-6.30pm, Charlton Day Centre, Charlton Village Road, Wantage
  • Wednesday 21 May, 4.30pm-6.30pm, Bicester Health and Wellbeing Centre, Launton Road, Bicester

People can find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer by calling 01865 897971, by sending an email to SharedLives@oxfordshire.gov.uk or by visiting the Shared Lives website.