We're so pleased that you are interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer. Here's a bit more about the Shared Lives scheme, and what you can expect. You have the chance to use your personality, skills and knowledge to help someone feel safe, happy and to help them learn new things.

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What do Shared Lives carers do?

They help many people including those with learning and physical disabilities, people with mental health needs and older people.

As a Shared Lives carer, you share your home with an adult with additional needs who has been matched with you. Depending on how much time you can commit this might range from a few hours of support per month to a long term arrangement with the person living with you.

Different types of Shared Lives support

There are four different types of support that you can choose to provide these are:

Long-term accommodation and support

This is where:

  • a person needing support would live in your home on a longer-term basis.
  • They would have their own room, and would become involved in all aspects of family life.
Short-breaks accommodation and support

These include:

  • Overnight stays of anything from 1 night to a couple of weeks, in order to give a family or long term carer a break.
  • The Short Breaks could be as frequent as once every week to once every few months.
  • It all depends on what availability you have and how much support the service user needs.
Emergency support


  • a person will require support at short notice.
  • You may decide that you would like to offer support at short notice to individuals in such situations when approached by Kirklees Shared Lives

Skills you need

You only need to have a caring attitude and a willingness to support someone. You will need to go through a process of assessment, and there will be training as part of that process.

Training provided

You will need to complete a short training course. This will include:

  • a mixture of awareness raising and addressing the practical issues of supporting someone who has additional needs
  • a personalised plan that takes into account your existing experiences and your time commitments
  • use of case studies to lead conversations as an easy way to learn at your own pace
  • Care Certificate training

Paid allowance

Currently (as of August 2016) payment for a Shared Lives carer:

  • Long-term accommodation and support - The allowance for providing this care would be in the range of £250-£329 per week plus £100.68 which is made up of a rent element, and board payment per week paid by the person needing support.
  • Short-breaks accommodation and support - £57 per night
  • Day time support - £43.12 per day
  • Emergency support - £500 per week.
Approval process

The process of approval of a prospective carer can take around 4 to 6 months to complete.

You will have an allocated worker who will support you through the assessment process, which will include:

  • An initial visit from a Shared Lives worker to discuss what’s involved in becoming an approved Shared Lives Carer, and to answer any initial questions that you may have.
  • You will be asked to complete an application form and nominate your referees.
  • The assessment should take around 3-4 months approx. to complete.
  • You will be asked to attend a one day Induction course and a one day preparation course

You will be carefully matched with a service user, and this could include several visits to see if you and they are a good match for each other.

Carer Approval Process Chart

Shared Lives stories

Lisa's Story

36 year old Lisa has lived with Shared Lives Carers Helen and Mark Simpson and their five young children for nearly two years.

Lisa Says "I really like all the children and even though it's busy I like it or I get bored. My favourite is the trampoline. Especially when I'm on it with the girls. We have a disco in the lounge and everybody dances. It's good. I let Bridget look at my things but not Seb because he's too young. I like my bedroom because the doors go into the garden. We go on walks which I like. I love the pool in the garden when it's hot."

Mark and Helen Say "We were very concerned about the dynamics of all the little relationships in our home when we knew Lisa was to move in. Although we had all collectively made the decision to be shared lives carers as a family, we were desperate for it all to go smoothly for everyone. It did, and still does. We had meetings with our Shared Lives Worker that were very helpful to the transition of Lisa, advice and support whenever needed, as well as reassurance that what we were doing with/for Lisa was ok and not to worry. We're busy parents, juggling work, home and children. However, choosing to be shared lives carers meant that I could stay at home with the family whilst working to support Lisa in her life. We feel that Lisa has developed so much independence, always showing concern and helpfulness to others.Lisa gets on with all the children well and joins in with us as a family at her leisure, if she feels like some down time, she lets us know, and relaxes doing her own thing in her own space.We're really pleased that our children experience, and help people that have differences and that are of all abilities."

Helen and Marks Children have also commented:

"Lisa huggle (cuddle)" - Seb (age 2)

"Lisa lives at my house and she is cuddly and she is happy. We love Lisa" - Bridget (age 4)

"Lisa is so good at arts and crafts, she shows us how to do fiddly things with loom bands and bracelet making. She was really easy to get to know when she came to live with us. It's good that she likes the same things as us" - Zara (age 9)

"Lisa comes in the garden and on the trampoline with us. She's got her own routine with her own friends but when we're all in she's just one of us in the family" - Harrison (age 11)

"Lisa has learned what we are like in our family and she just joins in the same like she's been here the whole time. She is always making us little things. At first we needed to fit in around Lisa until we knew her well, and now everything feels normal and we all do our own usual things and Lisa just comes along. She likes the same things as us. She comes swimming, walking, eating out and to the cinema with us and it's just normal" - Sophie (age 12)

Terry's story

Terry came to live with Pat and his wife Elaine in November 2010. Terry has learning disabilities and has worked full time as a gardener for 10 years. A job he loves.

Terry says "I like it here. I go to work and come and go and have my own key. I like Elaine's cooking and feel safe and wanted here".

Elaine told us why she wanted to be a shared life carer: "I have worked in care all my working career, but you don't need to have that background. All you have to do is care, have common sense, and a sense of humour. People think we're doing it just for Terry, but it's for us as well, especially as the kids are grown up and have moved out". Pat said "I took retirement and felt a bit lonely if I'm honest. I didn't feel needed any more. When Elaine is working, I have the time on my hands to do things, but no one to do it with. We have an allotment and Terry helps me with that. We've just put a fence up together in the garden and he's great company. We have a right laugh".

Elaine and Pat say what you need to be a Shared Lives carer is: "Patience, game for a laugh and a caring personality as well as a spare bedroom and a home and family to share".

Tracey's story

Tracey is a bubbly young woman with a learning disability. Until March last year she lived with another Shared Lives carer. When her carer made the decision to retire, Kirklees Council helped to match Tracey to another suitable carer.

Deborah has always worked in learning disability services and said: "I saw shared lives as a great way to help and support someone in a homely situation." Tracey is the first person Deborah has been matched with since been approved as a shared lives carer. Tracey often visited Deborah at her home a few months before moving in to make sure that they would be a good match for each other.

Deborah lives in Huddersfield and ideally Tracey wanted to stay in Dewsbury where her friends live. Deborah said: "We have helped her build new friends and networks here and make sure she still sees a lot of her friends in Dewsbury. And now she knows more people than me! When we go out supermarket there will always be someone that Tracey knows. It takes a lot of time to get the shopping done sometimes."Deborah and Tracey get on really well at home. Deborah said: "Tracey is such a people person. She always has a hello and a big smile to everybody she speaks to. But it's a two-way thing. She helps me too and looks after me. In a morning she'll check that I have everything that I need for the day.

"Deborah has a real sense of achievement knowing that she is helping Tracey live her life the way she wants to." Tracey says: "I'm able to do lots of things. In the house we do jigsaws or go out to the pictures - and bowling too! We also go walking with the dog, Alfie." Deborah added: "You need patience and it can be hard work. But we also have great fun".

Rachel's Story

Rachel who has a learning disability and is partially sighted lives with her parents Margaret and John. Rachel has been receiving short breaks with approved Shared Lives Carers Carol and Bill for 4 years.

Rachel says ‘I love going – they spoil me! Bill makes me laugh. I like to go out and do crafts with Carol, she helps me”. Rachel Parents are delighted that Rachel really loves going and she talks about it for days before and after she has come home.Margaret has no anxieties about Rachel staying away from home and describes Bill and Carol as a lovely couple who are very helpful and supportive. Margaret said ‘we have never had carers better. Even when Rachel hasn’t stayed with Carol for months they are like long lost friends when they see each other’.Carol and Bill are very accommodating; arrangements are made between each other this can be at short notice.

Meanwhile, Carol and Bill say that Rachel adds value to their lives and they feel that they are giving something back and enabling Rachel’s family to have a break. They have a very special relationship with Rachel and really look forward to her coming.

Contact Shared Lives