Scaling Shared Lives in Scotland
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Scaling Shared Lives in Scotland

In Shared Lives, people with significant support needs get the care they need in an ordinary family home, from someone they have chosen and who is with them for the long haul.

Shared Lives support feels small and personal, but with Nesta’s support we are able to think big.

In Scotland our aim is that each of the 32 local authorities will offer Shared Lives to older people. There is a long way to go; currently there are 15 Shared Lives schemes in Scotland, and only two that consistently offer a service to older people and those with dementia.

Our theory of change has three elements:

  1. We will build a proven case that Shared Lives arrangements are the most effective form of care for many older people, delivered by local organisations with a consistent track record according to care inspectors
  2. We will show the lower costs of Shared Lives and what investment is needed to establish a Shared Lives scheme.
  3. We will bring that evidence to local decision makers at the right time, along with the voices of people who could benefit from Shared Lives in their area.

We are drawing on our UK-wide network and research, as well as progress in Scotland such as the working model of Shared Lives support for older people of Moray Shared Lives.

The month ahead

June is a busy month for Shared Lives Plus in Scotland. We have seven days of events for Shared Lives Week beginning 17 June. This year’s theme is how Shared Lives provides choices for all, and highlights how Shared Lives can be beneficial in almost every social care situation you can imagine.

In Scotland, our member organisations are holding events to celebrate their Shared Lives carers and to raise the profile with decision makers locally.

This year, thanks to support from Nesta and the Accelerating Ideas programme, Shared Lives Plus are able to hold a parliamentary reception at The Scottish Parliament. Sponsored by MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead, we are showcasing the excellent and innovative work carried out by Moray Shared Lives.

In Moray they have taken the Shared Lives model and expanded rapidly into providing day care and short breaks for older people and those with dementia. This allows people to live at home for longer and take part in their communities they know and love.

This is also the 30th year that there has been a Shared Lives service in Scotland, and so there is a good excuse for cake to recognise Fife Shared Lives

Aberdeenshire are hosting visitors from across Scotland at Glenmore Lodge for the start of Shared Lives week. This longstanding activity weekend is for anyone interested in Shared Lives and creates a sense of community and learning for Shared Lives carers, managers, and people who use Shared Lives.

We are also telling people about how we can support them to develop Shared Lives services at the three-day Social Work Scotland conference.

Held in the Crieff Hydro Hotel in the middle of the verdant Perthshire countryside, this is the centrepiece of Social Work Scotland’s professional development year. In previous years, the conversations held here have kick started development of new Shared Lives schemes and we hope it will again.

Lastly, in amongst all of this activity, we will be interviewing for a new post of Development Officer. It is great to be supported by Nesta in this. Having a new person, with the additional skills and time that they will bring, will help with our goals of scaling up Shared Lives in Scotland.

Nesta in partnership with The Big Lottery are funding Shared Lives Plus as part of the Accelerating Ideas programme to grow and scale their model to benefit older people across the UK


Ben Hall

Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for Shared Lives and Homeshare. Ben works with commissioners, Shared Lives schemes, and decision makers in Scotland to support the development of ne…