Doncaster Council is currently working in partnership with The Avalon Group (a social care charity) to deliver an innovative care service to Doncaster residents.
Shared Lives offers an alternative to more traditional care options, such as residential or domiciliary care. Under the Shared Lives Scheme, paid carers offer adults with disabilities or a health condition (who are eligible to access the Service) a place to live in their home.
Care is offered on a short or long term basis. Day opportunities will also be available through Avalon’s unique Daybreak Service, which offers a combination of home based and external activities, designed to suit individual interests.
The Service can offer a great opportunity for individuals to develop their confidence and independence within a family environment. It can also provide the ideal support option to older people who can no longer remain in their own homes, but want to retain as much independence as possible within a caring family environment.
Over the next 3 years, Doncaster Council and Avalon will be working to recruit up to 60 new Shared Lives carers supporting up to 80 individuals.
Comprehensive training is provided free of charge by Avalon, so people who do not have a Care Sector background may be interested in applying to work as a Shared Lives Carer. People with a Care Sector background are also encouraged to apply.
Rates of pay vary depending upon the nature of support being delivered and the level of support needs required by each person. So, for example, a carer providing long term care to two people with medium level support needs could expect to earn around £800 per week (before tax and N.I.).
Avalon’s Director of Operations, Julie Colley commented: “We are very excited to be working in Doncaster and believe that Shared Lives can really make a positive difference to adults requiring care and support, enabling them to live as part of a family whilst developing skills and working towards personal goals.”
Councillor Pat Knight, cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Being a Shared Lives carer can be very rewarding and your work can help people who want to develop their confidence and independence within a family environment as well as older people who can no longer remain in their own homes, but want to retain as much independence as possible within a caring family environment.
“Shared Lives is part of our work to provide a range of care options that suit people’s different circumstances.”
A day in the life of a Shared Lives Carer
Avalon recently interviewed Shirley Robinson, who is an existing Shared Lives carer living in Scarborough. Shirley has worked as a carer since July 2012. She and her family share their home with two customers on a permanent basis. She also offers temporary respite support.
Avalon asked Shirley to provide some insight into why she decided to become a Shared Lives carer and talk about the day to day life of a Shared Lives family.
Avalon: “Shirley, what made you decide to work as a Shared Lives carer?”
Shirley: “I have worked in the Care Sector for a number of years. I had been keen to work as a Shared Lives carer for some time. When my five children had grown up and left home, I realised that I now had enough space to accommodate a Shared Lives family.”
Avalon: “What do you think are the benefits of working as a Shared Lives carer?”
Shirley: “I love working as a Shared Lives carer. It enriches my life and most importantly, it enables you to change the lives of other people.
“It offers a great opportunity to develop the confidence and independence of people with a disability. I accompany my Shared Lives family to football matches and concerts. We go out for meals together regularly and also go on holiday.
“I love the fact that my Shared Lives family are part of the local community. I think that the people I care for have really had the chance to blossom as a result of being in a Shared Lives family.”
Avalon: “Do you think you need a Care background to work as a Shared Lives carer?”
Shirley: “Avalon provided a high standard of training, so I don’t think that you need to have a background in Care to work as a Shared Lives carer.”
Avalon: “Are there any other comments that you would like to make?”
Shirley: “It is a very demanding, full on role, but it is the most rewarding job that I have ever had.”
If you would be interested in accessing the Service and discussing potential eligibility, or working as a Shared Lives carer, please contact Bev Wilson on 07753 568 424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .