New campaign launched to help residents work flexibly as a Shared Lives carer

Residents in Oxfordshire can work flexibly and from their own homes while offering support to people with care needs thanks to the county council’s Shared Lives scheme.

The well-established scheme matches individuals in need of additional support with Oxfordshire residents who have space and capacity in their homes and are looking for a new way to work, enhance their qualifications, and support their communities.

Shared Lives assists a range of individuals with varying needs, and their families. It enables greater independent living and encourages people to build roots, develop vital skills and even move into their own living situation where it is safe and possible to do so.

Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Shared Lives is proof that non-traditional routes into health and social care can have incredible impact – both for the carer and the individual. By bringing Oxfordshire residents together in this way for their mutual benefit, we’re not only keeping the needs of the individual at the core of social care but developing skills and strengths of the community. It’s a refreshing approach, and one I hope to see more of in the future.”

Mary Clarke, a carer with Shared Lives from Yarnton, said: “When I retired from my role in health and social care, I wanted to continue to use my skills and experience, but in a more flexible capacity. Shared Lives easily fits in around my life and commitments. While some of the visitors I host require consistent, ongoing support, others simply need a room and change of scenery for a day or two!

“It’s a genius scheme, and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a change of pace, or a new way to help.”

Successful applicants receive full training, ongoing 24/7 support, and a peer to peer support network with other carers across the county. Carers can choose whether to provide short or long-term support, or a mixture. This is a paid role, meaning carers receive a payment for the support they provide as well as the necessary financial support for additional household costs, such as food and utilities.

Carers and individuals are matched based on a range of suitable criteria, including home environments, and all carers have the option of accepting or declining new visitors at any time.

Shared Lives proudly supports people with a range of health or disability needs, including those living with learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, autism, dementia, epilepsy and more.

For more information about this release contact the Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council communications team on 01865 323870 or email press.office@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Who can be a Shared Lives carer?

  • Shared Lives carers can be single people, single parents, couples who live together, married couples, couples with children or friends sharing accommodation. To qualify as a carer, you will need to have a spare room available.
  • Existing and prospective carers are people of all ages (over 18), and from a wide variety of backgrounds. The scheme encourages interest from people of all ages, ethnicity, sexual orientation and welcomes applications from people who have a disability.

Do I need previous experience to quality?

  • No. While some carers come from a career in health or social care, many join with little or no previous experience in the field. Full training is provided through the scheme, and all carers will receive ongoing, 24-hour support. A positive attitude, respect for other people and a willingness to share your life are the most important criteria.

How can I learn more?

  • For anyone interested in finding out more about the Shared Lives scheme, and how to get involved, visit Oxfordshire County Council’s website at oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives or call on 02865 897 971.

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