Blackpool’s Shared Lives service marked its 30th anniversary at a celebration event at the Imperial Hotel ahead of national Shared Lives Week 17-21 June 2019.
Contrary to traditional perceptions of care primarily being provided in local authority settings, the national Shared Lives scheme sees care delivered by individuals, couples and families in their local community.
What is Shared Lives?
Blackpool’s Shared Lives service organises and co-ordinates care, support and accommodation for people aged 16 or over who are referred to the service as they need help to live in the community due to age, learning, physical or mental disability.
Carers open up their home, life and heart and welcome a person as ‘one of the family’ offering either day support, short breaks, longer term support or emergency placements. They help the user to be as independent as possible ranging from help with daily tasks, going on outings or simply offering companionship.
Hundreds of people have participated in the scheme during its 30 years in Blackpool with 34 individual carers and 25 households offering companionship and support during 2018/19.
Attendees at the celebration event which included caring professionals, service users and carers were invited to learn more about Blackpool’s journey over the last three decades and see Blackpool Carers receive recognition awards.
Keynote speaker, Alex Fox, Chief Executive Officer for national Shared Lives Plus and a Shared Lives Ambassador, commented: “Joining in the celebration of Blackpool Shared Lives’ 30th anniversary is one of those moments that fills me with hope and optimism about the future of Shared Lives. Shared Lives carers in Blackpool have been enriching people’s lives in the community and supporting people to live the way they want to.
“Delivering 30 years of excellent service, supporting Shared Lives people matches to flourish, is no mean feat in the face of the challenges in the wider social care landscape in the last decades. This longevity mirrors the consistency and stability of relationships which is the key strength of it.
“That Blackpool Shared Lives have continued to grow and achieve such great outcomes for people points to the resilience and quality of the model. It’s also a great example of what a local authority can achieve through careful matching, training and the promotion of best practice.”
Shared Lives – Playing a Positive Part
Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adults, said: “It’s not just children who need supportive homes, young people and adults do too. This fantastic service has such a positive impact on people’s lives, not just on service users but also carers, friends and families.
“The scheme may be particularly attractive to care or nursing professionals but all kinds of people over the age of 18 can become approved carers. We just look for someone who has kindness, patience and a willingness to share their time and home with a person.
“They don’t need specific qualifications or experience as full training and support is provided and the team work really hard to match people who need the service with suitable carers.”
People interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer in Blackpool can contact the friendly team via www.blackpool.gov.uk/SharedLives
Did you know?
- Carers receive payment to cover expenses when supporting those who use the service. The payment rate is based on the needs of the person supported.
- People using the Shared Lives service make a contribution towards the cost of their support. This is based on the individual’s ability to pay
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