Encompass Shared Lives scheme, funded by Sutton Council invites residents of the borough to open up their lives to adults with care and support needs and become Shared Lives carers.
The Sutton Shared Lives Service recruits and supports paid carers to work with adults with learning disabilities, mental health needs and older people. Shared Lives carers offer their homes and family life to provide a safe place for vulnerable adults to live, have a short break or engage in day activities.
Currently there are 31 vulnerable people in Sutton living with another family as part of the Shared Lives Scheme.
Naazina Sinclair’s parents were Shared Lives carers with two adults living in their family home for almost 10 years. Naazina assisted both vulnerable adults taking them to activities they enjoy such as bowling, going to the gym, taking them to the cinema or a day trip out somewhere. Naazina found it very rewarding supporting both adults and decided to become their long-term Shared Lives carer when her parents moved away.
Naazina’s family embraced the idea from the very beginning and her children really enjoyed having them come to live with them. They enjoyed playing basketball together and chatting about football as well as sharing family meals together.
Naazina has found the experience very rewarding for herself and her family. She said: “Shared Lives allow people to come into your home and share your life. It’s shown me different qualities about myself that I didn’t know I had. I learned how to sign as one of the adults has a hearing impairment and is non-verbal. I have also learned to use my teaching skills to assist with their learning.
“Shared Lives can fill that void in both family and client’s life. If you are caring and are happy to give your time to support, assist and care for others, being a Shared Lives Carer may be something to consider. The changes that have happened within my family has made us appreciate and acknowledge the needs of others and how we can best support, guide and assist them to help fulfil their goals and choices in life. Our cared for adults are very much a part of our family.”
Peter, a Shared Lives service user in the borough says; “Shared Lives has been great. The family I have has always been there for me and always helps me out.”
Councillor Marian James, Chair of the People Committee, commented on the service; “We are looking for people who are able to offer adults with care or support needs a place in their home with their family on a short or long term basis. You need to live in the borough, have a spare bedroom and a willingness to share your home.
You will be supported with a careful matching process, ongoing training and regular visits as well as a weekly allowance.
We hope to be able to offer many more adults with support needs the happiness, comfort and safety of living in a family home. We hear from our Shared Lives carers what a rewarding and positive experience it provides for both parties.”
Prospective carers do not need any qualifications, just time to spare and room in their home.
They will receive regular support from the scheme and receive all necessary training. All costs associated with the scheme are covered by the Council.
Details on who can be a carer, what carers receive and what those needing carers receive can be found at www.encompass-latc.co.uk/about/shared-lives.html