Shared Lives scheme launches in Lambeth

18 September 2015

Written by: Cathy McDonnell, Grace Eyre

News and announcements

Shared Lives is a scheme that sees local people sharing their home with someone who needs care and support.  It’s similar to fostering but Shared Lives is offered to adults who need support, including people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities or older people.

The Lambeth Shared Lives scheme will hold a special launch event on Monday 5 October, 6-8pm at West Norwood Health Centre.

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Shared Lives scheme launches in Lambeth

There are over 150 Shared Lives Schemes across the UK. They are delivered by experts in this field, funded by local authorities and regulated by the Care Quality Commission. The scheme in Lambeth is being delivered by Grace Eyre, named after Grace Eyre Woodhead who founded the organisation in 1898 and set up the first Shared Lives scheme in the UK.

Grace Eyre will aim to match the lifestyle, skills and knowledge of the carer to the needs and preferences of the person with the learning disability and/or mental health needs. The service is provided by people who can offer accommodation and also have the skills and motivation to undertake this caring role within their home.

Being a Shared Lives carer is a highly valued role, as care and support provided by these people means that many adults needing support are given an alternative to residential care. Living within a Shared Lives home means people who need some extra support can learn independence skills and live as part of their community in a natural home setting. Shared Lives Carers come from all sorts of backgrounds and may be single people living in a flat to families living in a house who have children of their own.

Want to know more about Shared Lives?

The Lambeth Shared Lives scheme will hold a special launch event on 5 October, 6-8pm at West Norwood Health Centre,  call 0207 924 0631 or email

Grace Eyre is currently recruiting for Shared Lives Carers in Lambeth and its borders. If you would like to know more about this extraordinary paid role maybe as a career change or back to work idea, contact us for more details at Grace Eyre, Shared Lives Lambeth:  0207 924 0631 or visit

A day in the life of a Shared Lives carer

Here Jane talks about a typical day supporting a young man, Johnny who has learning disabilities (names have been changed for privacy) and this gives a flavour of what the role is all about.

In the morning we’ll talk about Johnny’s plans for the day, where he’s going and what he’s doing. So some days he might be going to the day centre where he undertakes activities such as going to the gym and going swimming – he loves keeping fit! He’s also got a volunteer job in a café.

When Johnny first came to stay he said he wanted to get out and do things such as volunteering so I supported Johnny to attend a Travel Training programme and after 2 years on the programme and me helping him practice his journeys, he is now an independent traveller. He has also become a volunteer travel buddy himself and supports other people with learning disabilities to learn to travel safely.

On the days Johnny doesn’t go to the centre, he goes to the local gym where he also has a volunteer job cleaning down the machines. Johnny also uses the gym himself. Afterwards he goes out for lunch with his work buddies and he loves doing this! He then normally goes to the library and gets his DVDs for the week.

Wednesday is Johnny’s cleaning day so in the afternoon, he’ll come home and do the hoovering, sweep the floors, clean the bathroom, tidy his room and change his sheets etc. I have developed an accessible visual tick list with pictures of household jobs so Johnny knows what he needs to do.

I normally get home about 4.30pm/5pm. Johnny likes to eat out, so he chooses one evening a week when we’ll go out to eat. There are lots of pubs and restaurants that do mid-week specials so he will choose one of those to keep costs down. On other evenings, Johnny might go out to see his friends. He has an accessible mobile phone to keep me posted on what his plans are so he can call if he’s going to stay at a friend’s for dinner

Click here to read the interview with Jane in full (as a pdf document)

To find out more about Grace Eyre visit