Share your home and make a difference to someone else's life!

-Nazneen Ahmed always knew she had room in her home and her heart to provide care and support to someone who needed it.

Signing up to the Shared Lives scheme eight years ago turned out to be one of the most rewarding decisions she’s made since moving back to Oxford.

Since 2013, Nazneen and partner Jatin Pandya have been offering care and support in their city home to Gina.

When Gina first came to stay, she was experiencing a lot of difficulties in her life. Now Gina is very much part of the family. “Her coming to stay has been so wonderful,” enthused Nazneen. “She’s made such a difference to all our lives. She’s such a kind-hearted person and my grandchildren adore her.”

Nazneen recalls that Gina was very reserved when she first moved in with them but has grown in confidence over the years. Shared Lives Carers can provide instant access to practical and emotional support and offer help with all kinds of day-to-day matters.

Gina is thriving and doing things that only a few years ago would never have seemed possible to her.

She says Nazneen and Jatin are “very helpful and caring…I like going on holiday with them.”

This week she joined them for a trip to the seaside in Sussex where there were bracing beach walks and ice-creams all round.

Gina says that she likes “helping people through my own work”. She now works at the My Life My Choice, a user-led Oxfordshire based self-advocacy organisation, where she helps other adults.

Gina’s life and those of her long-term carers are all the better for being part of the Shared Lives Scheme, an Oxfordshire County Council-funded service that supports 120 people in the county.

Eighty households have signed up to the scheme. And now, as we celebrate Shared Lives Week, Kate Terroni – county council director of adult social care – is urging more people from all walks of life to follow in Nazneen’s footsteps.

Kate said: “We are keen to recruit people from all walks of life who feel they can offer this type of paid support in their own home.

“It could be anything from occasional short breaks or day-time support through to a longer-term, full-time arrangement. The support that our carers give makes a huge difference to the lives of people using the service, often enabling them to experience new opportunities and reach new goals.

They may have a learning disability, physical disability or mental health need or they could be an older person or someone with dementia.

No matter what type of arrangement or carers provide, they all receive on-going support and training from a team of qualified social workers to ensure delivery of high quality, person-centred care.

There are also regular opportunities to meet up with other carers and service users at social and information events so a wider support network is also available.

If you have a spare room to offer and would like to play a key part in making a positive difference to someone’s life, call the Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme on 01865 897971 or visit our website www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives .


The essence of being a Shared Lives Carer is that you can offer time, encouragement and

opportunity whilst being aware of an individual’s needs.

Carers can provide:

● Respite or short-term accommodation with care and support

● Long-term accommodation with care and support

● Day support (which can be in the Shared Lives carers' home or in the community).

Carers get:

● an allocated social worker, supervision, support and membership of a charity represents the interests of all those involved in Shared Lives and gives advice related to taxable earnings.

Who would I support?

Matching is very important. Assessors find out the things that are important to you and find someone to suit your household.

Who can be a Shared Lives Carer?

Shared Lives Carers can be single people, single parents, married or co-habiting couples, those with children or friends sharing accommodation. Age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability are no barrier. You need to either own or rent your own home. No qualifications or experience are required, but you will undergo an assessment and enhanced DBS check.

How much will I get paid?

All Shared Lives Carers’ are self-employed and you can support up to three people at any one time. Payment varies depending on the amount of people you support and work you do. For example, if you supported someone in your own home on a long-term basis you could earn more than £400 per week.

Shared Lives is regulated by the Care Quality Commission.