Adult social care

Shared lives


Shared lives offers a highly flexible family-based model of support. It gives individuals the opportunity to live as part of their community where they can develop their skills and confidence in a stable, supported environment.

In Barnsley we offer the service to people who:

  • have a learning or physical disability
  • are older
  • have a mental health problem
  • are vulnerable
  • are in transition from children's services to adults, at age 16
  • need support to manage any health needs

How shared lives works

Shared lives is where a carer opens up their home and family lives to include a young person or adult who needs extra support to live well. They become that person's carer; sharing their family and community life with them. All the family contributes to building relationships and including the person in everyday family life.

The carers are carefully selected people who are recruited, trained and supported by us. A shared lives carer can support a maximum of three people at any one time. If you join the shared lives scheme you can:

  • develop your skills and meet new people in the comfort of a shared lives carer’s home
  • receive person-centred care
  • use it as a stepping-stone towards more independence
  • accept or reject any arrangement that's offered to you
  • receive regular, professional support throughout the arrangement
  • have opportunities to feed back about the care you receive
  • stay with a family for a short period of time
  • stay with a family on a regular basis for a day or more each week
  • stay with a family on a regular basis for a few hours at a time on a day, evening or weekend that suits you
  • live with a family on a long-term basis

All of our carers and the people they support are matched carefully. This is to make sure they feel comfortable with each other before agreeing to spend time together. We work really hard to identify shared interests, pets, hobbies and places that will help build a bond and rapport.

Benefits of choosing shared lives

If you need care, you can join shared lives instead of going into a care home or having a home carer. People who live in a family environment with a shared lives carer usually find that their lives improve.

People sometimes use a shared lives scheme as a way of learning the skills they need to live independently. It helps them put down roots in the area or community before moving into a place of their own.

Barnsley is part of a network of national providers of the shared lives scheme through Shared Lives Plus. Visit their website to find some useful resources, including videos and blogs, about the scheme. 

How to access shared lives

Contact us if you're interested in shared lives living arrangements for yourself or a family member.

We can tell you if you're eligible for some help to arrange and pay for this service when you get a social care assessment. If you've had an assessment and are already receiving some services, contact your social worker or call us on (01226) 775023.

If you're arranging and paying for your own support we can visit you to talk about the suitability of the scheme for you and how much it'll cost.

Becoming a shared lives carer

Being a shared lives carer is very rewarding. As our scheme's growing we're actively seeking new carers. We need people who are able to support individuals on a short or long term basis, for day support and sessional support.

We'll provide you with full training and support to make sure everyone has the help they need. You'll be paid a generous allowance to provide a family environment and support to individuals for respite, a long-term placement or for a few hours a day.

To be a shared lives carer you need to be able to:

  • offer a safe, supported and welcoming home with at least one spare bedroom if it's a long-term placement or respite
  • offer a stable and supportive environment, and have the motivation and commitment to developing a long-term caring relationship
  • offer time, encouragement and opportunity whilst being aware of the person you're caring for and their needs.

You might need to assist with:

  • accompanying people to appointments, for doctors and dentists and other health services
  • transport to and from leisure activities, work, college or community venues such as the library, shops and sports centres
  • holidays, outings and cultural activities
  • helping to manage finances and medication
  • reviews and attending meetings for, or with, the person

You don't have to own your own home to be a shared lives carer, you can have any style of home. It just needs to meet our fire, health and safety requirements and is in good repair and decoration. We're particularly keen to hear from you if you have ground floor accommodation and if you live in a property that's already been adapted.

Shared lives is a unique model of support, which is often rewarding for both the carer and the person using the service. There will be specific requirements and expectations about how a person's support is provided. These will be fully explored with you before any placement is made.

Barnsley shared lives scheme is registered with the Care Quality Commission which means that we have quality inspections. You can read our latest Care Quality Commission inspection report on their website.

Apply to become a shared lives carer

To apply to be a shared lives carer call us on (01226) 775023 or email