Thanks to National Lottery players, many more people who want the support of a helping hand in older age, for a long term condition or at a time of transition, could be offered the option of Shared Lives or Homeshare.

Shared Lives Plus has received £1.8m funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to expand support through 150 local Shared Lives schemes and 25 Homeshare schemes, which bring people together to tackle loneliness by bringing people together in local communities.

Boost to tackle loneliness for thousands of people

“I never dreamt of being so independent again”, that’s what, Steve, 52, said after a stroke and a short stay with Shared Lives carers helped him gain strength to move back home.

“I was living with my partner, running a B&B when I had a serious stroke and two heart attacks. After four months in hospital, I was depressed, frail and my memory had deteriorated. We knew I needed more support than my partner could provide. I was unable to return home and frightened about my future. But my local Shared Lives scheme matched me, with two trained and approved Shared Lives carers who shared my sarcastic sense of humour, had dogs, and lived close by. They helped me gain strength and confidence until I could walk independently again.

Boost to tackle loneliness for thousands of people

“They helped me adapt to my memory loss, manage my banking and making meals. Without the Shared Lives scheme, I would have undoubtedly spent longer in hospital, had less choice about where I lived and had a slower recovery. It is so important that money is available to ensure that schemes like this exist.”

Shared Lives Plus is the UK membership network for carers and local schemes which recommend and support a personal match between people and help them rediscover interests and a way to give back to others, through a stable home and community life.

Whether people need friendly conversation around the house in older age and can offer affordable accommodation for a younger person through a Homeshare scheme, or through a Shared Lives scheme, enjoy short breaks when living with dementia, provide the next stepping stone for a young person leaving care, or someone who’s had hospital treatment, experienced mental ill health or domestic violence, Shared Lives Plus is set to promote shared living on a larger scale, and provide back up to everyone involved.

14,000 people across the UK already enjoy the benefits of being part of a big-hearted and approved Shared Lives carers’ home and community life – whether just for a couple of days a week or as part of the household long-term. 150 local Shared Lives schemes provide inspected and regulated support to every person who wants to offer care closer to home – which is consistently rated the safest and best form of social care. Nearly 400 people are part of 25 Homeshare schemes across the UK, and this is set to grow as Homeshare International partners with Shared Lives Plus to promote home sharing across the world.

Boost to tackle loneliness for thousands of people

Through this grant from The National Community Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, Shared Lives Plus can reach more people, through its teams in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. Its latest reports show that Shared Lives and Homeshare are growing across the UK – by as much as 30% in the last five years, but that growth is dependent on local leadership.

Shared Lives Plus is aiming to demonstrate the sustainability and community-led nature of Shared Lives and Homeshare schemes.

Alex Fox OBE, Shared Lives Plus, CEO, said:

“We all want similar things – to live in a good place with people we choose, able to do the things that matter to us. That doesn’t change when we develop long term support needs, as millions of us now do during our lives. So we believe it’s time to put the ‘social’ into social care – and into healthcare as well.

“Every area should make Shared Lives and Homeshare available to everyone who could benefit from a supportive household around them. For that to happen, local and national leaders need to get behind these approaches and the amazing people involved. We are immensely grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for recognising and investing in the potential we have to expand Shared Lives and Homeshare in local communities right across the UK.”

Boost to tackle loneliness for thousands of people

Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players more people will be able to come together to share their lives and homes, helping tackle loneliness and supporting people and communities to thrive. Shared Lives Plus do great work across the UK empowering positive relationships whilst also supporting independence and personal choice, all by putting people in the lead.”

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