Adult social care

Becoming a shared lives carer

In Barnsley, we’re very proud of our shared lives carers, who help people in our communities to continue enjoying life in their local area. We’re looking for kind, compassionate people to join us as shared lives carers and open up their homes to help someone who needs a little extra support.

If you’re passionate about helping people live their best lives and have previous caring experience, either from working in care or caring for a loved one, we'd love to hear from you!

What is shared lives?

Shared lives is a unique care and support service for people who want to live independently in their local area with the help of a family and community network.

Our shared lives carers welcome people in need of a little extra support into their homes, making them feel part of the family. They may move in and live as part of the shared lives carer’s household or benefit from day support and respite care.

Being a shared lives carer is extremely rewarding for both you and the person you support, helping them learn new skills and grow in confidence in a safe, supportive environment. You can learn more about our shared lives service by visiting our shared lives support webpage.

Who would I support?

Someone who visits or lives with a shared lives carer in Barnsley may:

  • Have a learning or physical disability.
  • Be an older resident in need of support.
  • Have a mental health problem.
  • Be transitioning from children’s services to adult social care at age 16.
  • Need support to manage their health needs.

One of the best things about being a shared lives carer is you get to choose who you support. As part of our matching process, we carefully pair up shared lives carers and the people we support, making sure everyone has their say and is comfortable with each other.

We’ll be here to advise and guide you through the process and support you to access the training you need to feel confident and comfortable in your role.

A shared lives household can support up to three people at any one time.

How do I become a shared lives carer?

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to become a shared lives carer whether you’re single, in a relationship, have children or live alone. There’s no upper age limit to becoming a shared lives carer. If you’re physically able to care for someone, we'd love to hear from you.

Getting in touch with the team

If you’re interested in becoming a shared lives carer in Barnsley, you can request an application form. You can email us at barnsleysharedlives@barnsley.gov.uk or call (01226) 775023.

We’re here to help you with any questions you may have about completing your application. We can also arrange a visit to your home to talk you through the process of becoming a shared lives carer.

Applying to become a shared lives carer

When you’re ready, you can complete the application form. You'll need to provide references, your employment history and details about you and your household.

Assessment and approval

During your assessment, you'll be asked about your experience, relationships and relevant skills. We'll also discuss your living environment, family, lifestyle and connections to your local community. Your allocated shared lives officer will support you in completing your assessment and will inform you of the outcome of our approvals panel.

Finding your first match

Once you’re approved, your allocated officer will help you complete your carer profile, which will help introduce you to the people we support. For example, you may want to include any pets you have, what kind of music you like and any interesting facts about you.

We'll then help you to get started and build your first connections as a shared lives carer.

 

Benefits of being a shared lives carer

Once you’re an established shared lives carer in your community, you can expect a stable income. Shared lives carers are self-employed and receive a fee for the support they provide instead of being paid a wage or a salary. We pay your fees based on the type of support you provide, whether that be:

  • Long-term support, where someone moves in and lives with you.
  • Short breaks and respite care, including overnight stays and weekend visits.
  • Day support, where you support someone for a few hours at a time.

We know that being self-employed may be a new challenge for our carers, but it brings many benefits. This includes the flexibility of providing support from your own home and creating a way of life that suits you and the person you support.

We can support you to register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs. This can be done online after you’ve been approved as a shared lives carer.

The shared lives tax break

Qualifying care relief is a special form of tax relief that’s available to shared lives carers. With qualifying care relief, you don’t have to make any class 4 national insurance contributions or pay any income tax on your shared lives income if you earn less in a year than the qualifying amount.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need any specific qualifications to be a shared lives carer?

You don’t need any specific qualifications to become a shared lives carer. Being one of our carers is more about your passion to support others and include someone in your home and community life.

When you’re preparing to become a shared lives carer, you'll get training to help you and your family identify and build upon the skills you already have. We'll also help you build any new skills you might need to feel confident and comfortable in your new role.

Can I be a shared lives carer if I have pets?

Absolutely. We believe pets are a key part of the family, helping the people we support to grow in confidence, and many of our shared lives carers have pets of their own.

What kind of support would I provide as a shared lives carer?

The support you provide will be different for each person but could include:

  • Supporting someone with practical tasks like washing, cooking or shopping. You can also help them develop skills that could help them live independently in the future.
  • Personal care, such as washing and dressing, or reminding them to take their medication.
  • Helping people make connections, whether that’s staying in touch with loved ones, making new friends or getting involved in their community.
  • Supporting people to get the most out of education, training, volunteering or employment. This may involve teaching them about how to manage their money and use it safely.

What support is available for shared lives carer?

Your allocated officer is your first line of support. They’re here to provide you with advice and guidance. They can also help you arrange ongoing training to help you in your role.

Through our shared lives team, you’ll be able to access a wide range of services and activities that can help you or the person you support. We'll also connect you with professionals working across health and care, helping you see the network of support we have in action.

If you’re looking to meet other carers in Barnsley, we have our shared lives carer support group, which is a great way to celebrate your successes and get support when you need it.

You could also become a member of shared lives plus, a national network which has been supporting shared lives carers for over 40 years. From information and discounts to webinars and annual awards, you can learn more about their support by visiting the shared lives plus website.

Will I have a say in who I care for?

Being able to choose who you care for is one of the best things about shared lives and is unlike any other caring role. Our matching process helps us make sure everyone involved with shared lives is confident and comfortable with who they are going to support, visit or live with.

As part of our assessment process, you’ll talk to your allocated officer about the kind of people you’d like to support. This includes their age range and needs, the number of people you will care for and any other considerations.

 

If you have any other questions about becoming a Shared Lives carer, please get in touch with the team by emailing barnsleysharedlives@barnsley.gov.uk or calling (01226) 775023.

Our Shared Lives service is registered with the Care Quality Commission, which means that we have regular quality inspections. You can read our latest Care Quality Commission inspection report on their website.