Somerset Shared Lives Carer addresses MPs about the benefits of scheme

A Somerset carer has been talking about the benefits of the County Council’s Shared Lives scheme in the corridors of Westminster.

Alison Cooper has been a Shared Lives Carer for five years and was invited to speak at a national parliamentary event, addressing a cross section of MPs to share her experiences.

The Shared Lives scheme has placed  thousands of adults across the country who need additional support within a family environment. It allows them to live their own life whilst enjoying being in a family home where they can also receive any additional care they need.

The Council is now looking for more people to join the scheme and urging anyone with an interest to get in touch. Carers receive a payment from the Council and support and guidance in their vital role which can transform lives.

Alison and her family support adults with mental health issues or disabilities. Most recently she has been caring for Jonathon, 41, who is autistic.

“It was daunting” she said, “But I felt as the opportunity was there that it would be a great chance to highlight what an incredible project Shared Lives is.

“Jonathon may well have found a stable family environment to thrive it, but we have also gained an extension to our family in him and his parents.”

You can view a short interview with Alison about her Shared Lives role here

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, believes more people could benefit from Shared Lives but additional carers are required.

“We are incredibly lucky to have seen some great success stories from this programme all over our county, but we do need more people to come forward to assist in supporting those who need it the most.

“Shared Lives works and the benefits it brings to those who are being supported by it is life changing”

To become a Shared Lives carer you simply need to be over the age of 18, and be willing to host them in your home and assist with their day to day requirements. This may include personal care, shopping, paying bills and assisting to find college courses. Stays range from just the weekend to much longer.

For more information on how to become a Shared Lives career please call the Shared Lives Team on 01823 250501.