“Does my heart look big in this?"

Tuesday, 5 February, 2019

TV actress, Arabella Weir has launched a national campaign, “Does my heart look big in this?” which is looking to recruit Shared Lives Carers with big enough hearts to open up their homes to people with additional needs and who want to share and enjoy family life together. Click here to watch the video

An invaluable army of thirty-eight Shared Lives Carer households across Dudley Borough and the wider Black Country are already supporting many people, who aren’t related but live together as a family.

They are part of a UK network, where schemes such as CVT Shared Lives help thousands of people who have dementia, mental ill health, young people leaving foster care, discharged from hospital, autism, physical health or learning disability, to lead independent, ordinary lives at the heart of the local community with their Shared Lives Carer.

Comedian Arabella Weir’s interest piqued when she heard of Shared Lives on national radio earlier this year. Surrounded by increasing loneliness in society, getting used to her own empty nest and filming the BBC’s latest series of Two Doors Down, a comedy about a tight-knit Glaswegian street, she is inviting more people to become Shared Lives Carers.

“It seems such a common sense idea to me, that people who need support can live in ordinary family homes, instead of being taken to a care home or hospital away from everyone they know.”

“I was amazed to find that people who would have previously been in long-stay hospitals are enjoying life together with Shared Lives Carers. Some visit their Carer’s home overnight and at weekends or just for the day, and others live with their Shared Lives Carer and their family for as long as they like.”

“It’s ideal that people aren’t getting rushed 15-minute visits from staff on zero-hour contracts, or being thrown together, but can choose and form lasting relationships, which transform their lives.”

Even though Shared Lives happens in ordinary homes, government inspectors rate it as safer and better quality than all other types of social care. A whopping 96% of schemes rated good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission – topping all other kinds of social care support. Shared Lives helps anyone who wants a stable home and needs support with anything from daily tasks, personal care, learning new skills or voting for your favourites on Strictly Come Dancing.

Recent figures suggest there are just under 800 people across the West Midlands approved as Shared Lives Carers, and the number of people being supported, has now reached over 900 people. There are 11 Shared Lives schemes across the region, but few people know about it, and fewer benefit from the great lifestyle it can offer, both as a Shared Lives Carer and a person that needs support.

Kate Morgan, Registered Manager for CVT Shared Lives, who have recently been awarded the contract to deliver a service in partnership with Dudley MBC says, “The Shared Lives model has been around for decades, however, it’s time now to expand the model significantly, so those people who need support across the Black Country, can have the opportunity to remain in their own community. Everyone has the right to enjoy Shared Lives, the difference that kindness, stable relationships and ordinary home life make is amazing. By joining a Shared Lives scheme, caring people can build a paid career from their own home, doing a role they love.”

If you have a big heart and a spare room and interested in becoming a Shared Lives Carer, please ring 01384 441505, visit our website here or follow us on twitter: @CVTSharedLives