Shared Lives


Could you open up your home to give older people or adults with disabilities the chance to lead ordinary lives in the community?
Derbyshire County Council is looking for more people to become Shared Lives carers.
Although we need carers all over Derbyshire, we are particularly looking for people in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.
The scheme offers over 18s the chance to move in with a carer to share their family life for a long term arrangement, short break or day care.
There is no upper age limit on becoming a Shared Lives carer although they have to be over 18.
They can come from all backgrounds, can be working, unemployed or retired. They can become a carer regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
They don’t need to own their home but they need to be patient with a stable home life, flexible and willing to learn.
Full training is provided and support is on hand. Carers are paid depending on the type of support they offer.
Shared Lives is registered with the Care Quality Commission and carers are assessed and approved.

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Emily Goddard and Rebecca Challands

Being a Shared Lives carer runs in the family for Emily Goddard.

So when the former retail manager was looking for a better work/life balance after having her daughter Ivy, five she decided to give it a go.

“My auntie has been a Shared Lives carer for many years and her daughters – my cousins – also became Shared Lives carers after having their children so I have always been used to it. My mum was also a carer so there’s a history of caring in my family.

“My husband Dave and I talked it over and we decided to look in to it. It is very rewarding – in fact I think it is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do.
“The fact that I can work from home and can look after Ivy so I don’t need childcare or after school care is a real bonus.

“Often people who decide to become Shared Lives carers have already had their own families, and their children are now grown up.

“However it is definitely a career that works with a young family too and I think for the service user, sharing their life with a young family can have so many benefits.
“I get loads of support from my Shared Lives social worker and the allowances are good,” said the 33-year-old.

Emily recently moved to Derbyshire from Warwickshire where she had been a Shared Lives carer for two years and she now provides a permanent home to Rebecca Challands.

The 18-year-old, who was brought up by her grandparents, now has her own room in Emily’s light and airy rented home in Holmewood near Chesterfield.

Emily added: “There’s something about extending your family and having people living here and sharing a life together. It’s a busy household but we love it.

“Often people are put off because they think they have to support them every minute of every day but that isn’t the case.

“We still get time as a family ourselves as Becky likes her own space in her bedroom so Dave and I get time for our own family as well.

“Becky is happy to stay at home on her own for periods of time so we’re able to get out and about as a family too.

“Carers are also entitled to four weeks paid respite a year to allow everybody a break.”
For Rebecca it means gaining new skills, trying new things and cooking for the first time. She’s even developed a love of shopping – something she had never liked doing before.

“This is my own home forever. I love living here,” she said.

Rebecca goes to college four days a week but on her Friday off, Rebecca and Emily spend the day together – they call it Rebecca’s Well-being Day
Rebecca added: “We have been in to town together, doing some cooking, shopping, making my bed and cleaning my room.”

Emily is passionate about helping Rebecca blossom to lead a fulfilling, independent life – so much so she’s planning on offering a Shared Lives home to another person.

“I treat Becky as an adult and I can help promote her independence and encourage her to do more things for herself like making a hot drink, doing household chores and cooking.

“Also encouraging her to have more access to the local community and seeing her confidence grow day by day is wonderful.

“I love the fact that you are making a difference to people’s lives and helping them achieve their goals,” she said.