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How to Become a Shared Lives Carer

Information about becoming a Shared Lives Carer, links to further guidance and contact details

The Shared Lives Scheme recruits carers and families who can offer care and support to individuals from the age of 16, by including them in their family and community life. This gives people in need of support a chance to gain skills that will help them to live a more independent life, with the help of a carer.

Shared Lives care is based on shared interests, experiences and lifestyles. It is very similar to fostering, but for adults.

We are always looking to recruit new carers into the West Berkshire Shared Lives Scheme. Working from home as a self-employed Shared Lives carer, you can earn between £390  to £650 a week, with tax relief.

Where Can I Find Further Information?

You can find information about what it is like to become a Shared Lives carer on the Shared Lives Plus website, here.

You can also find out more about the West Berkshire Shared Lives Scheme on the Shared Lives Plus website, here.

If you would like to discuss your interest by phone, please contact the Shared Lives Team on 01635 520173.

Our Shared Lives Carers

These are some of our Shared Lives Carers in West Berkshire:

Carmel Brown, Shared Lives Carer

Photo of Shared Lives Carer Carmel Brown for SL Carer Webpage

Carmel lives with David and they both provide respite for the scheme.

How long have you been a Shared Lives carer?

From 2010 as we moved to Newbury in 2009 and I started with Shared Lives in 2010. I have always worked with the elderly in care home settings and when I moved to Newbury I got a job in a care home there but it wasn't the same as when I worked in previous care homes. It was lacking the supportive team atmosphere I had previously so I left to work with people privately in their own homes instead, and I loved it! I then came up with the idea of looking after the elderly in my own home as I had spare rooms and it was through looking into this that I came across the Shared Lives scheme. I called up and wanted to join right away! We also work with Wiltshire Shared Lives too having moved to Trowbridge. We have regulars from that too.

Can you tell me something you really enjoy as a SL carer?

Since moving to Trowbridge it is so lovely how so many Newbury customers from the past still want to come to stay even though it is one and half hours journey to get to us! To have the 'regulars' is genuinely very special. We also get the odd text to keep in touch from a few service users outside of respite. The pleasure is when someone comes to stay and they see us and the pure joy on their face is evident. There's also the reassured look on their carers face as they know the service users are safe. Everybody needs a break. It is a different routine here to what the service users are used to at home so that gives them a break from their routines. We do respite but quite often it's longer than just respite.

Can you tell me what you would say to others who are not SL carers, about your overall experience of being a SL carer?

You have to be able to adapt to different circumstances but there are a lot of positives. If you look deep into it. It's not about the money, you've got to have it in your heart. You need to be cut out for it too and be a certain type of person. Being a good listener is very important.  It is so rewarding being a Shared Lives carer as you are helping a whole household which is extremely worthwhile. You are doing a positive service for customers and their families. You feel you are doing as much as you can to help other that are less fortunate. There's definitely a reason to be proud about what we do.

Mel Dorward, Shared Lives Carer

Shared Lives Carer Photo of Mel Dorward

Watch Mel on You Tube.

Mel talks about the Shared Lives scheme where carers share their family lives with people they care for, providing either long term or respite care. She says that being a shared lives carer is about embracing supporting others and tells us that it's important have compassion and be flexible. She feels that everyone brings something different to the table and that's why it's so exciting to work in Shared Lives. Thank You Mel for sharing your experience!

You can also see Mel at home on YouTube on this Sky News clip.

Elaine, Shared Lives Carer

Shared Lives Carer Photo of Elaine

How long have you been a Shared Lives Carer?

I've been a Shared Lives carer for over 20 years now! I was also a carer before then, really, I have been working in care since my son was 4 and he's in his 40's now! I have worked in various settings, including residential and at a special needs school too, so I've gained lots of experience. Working in care came about for me due to life experiences in my past that made me want to give back and support those who need it most. It was the best decision I ever made and I haven't looked back since. Being a carer is one of my proudest accomplishments. Around 5 years ago I won the Sue Ryder Carer of the Year award (I couldn't believe it as I didn't think it would be me!) and this felt like a real milestone in my life.

Can you tell me something you really enjoy as a SL carer?

Everything! Being a carer is everything to me. It is not a job, it is my life. Supporting my service users is so rewarding. I currently support two full timers and I do respite as well. They are family members to me and I include them in everything I do.

Can you tell me what you would say to others who are not SL carers, about your overall experience of being a SL carer?

If you can become a Shared Lives carer then just go for it as it is the best thing in the world and is so rewarding and the good times far outweigh the bad times!


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