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Charity (no. 1104699)

Shared Lives

"Providing accommodation, care and support for vulnerable adults"

Who We Help, Why We Help & the Difference It Makes

Shared Lives South West is an independent regional charity which runs Shared Lives and closely related services throughout Devon and Cornwall. We’ve been in operation since 2004, when we used to be called SWAPS – the South West Adult Placement Scheme. We work with the four local authorities in Cornwall, Plymouth, Devon and Torbay to provide a range of services suitable for people who have extra needs. We have offices in Kingsteignton in Devon and Scorrier in Cornwall and employ 40 paid staff in our head office and our Shared Lives teams.

We are an organisation that can help you find support and somewhere to live. All our services are based in the home of a family who would like to share their home and family life with you. All our families have been checked out by us to make sure they are good at their job. You can stay with one of our families all of the time or for a short time. Or you can go just for the day. You can meet a family for a short time to see if you would like to go there for longer. We call this a Cup of Tea visit.

A good way to find out what our services are like is to watch this short video

“I feel settled and like living in a family environment. I regularly see their grandchildren who live nearby and play with them, I feel like they are my nieces and nephews as we are really close. “I live in an annex which gives me privacy, but I know Brian and Sheila are still close by to support me and are on hand if I need them. “I feel really happy living here.” 

“I’m now on the right road to achieve my goals and dreams. I feel safe and I’m happy. It’s warm, happy, fun and in the house we all have a good laugh together. “I don’t feel like I’m on my own. I have someone I can talk to if I’m anxious and Eileen can tell if there’s something wrong as she knows me so well. “I’m so pleased I live in a Shared Lives house. I’d say to people thinking about moving in to a placement, go for it.”

Our Services Are


What Would You Like Now?

Choose one of the options below.

Shared Lives services are all about one household sharing their lives, families, home, interests, experience and skills with other people who need some help and support to live their lives to the full.  It is a unique sort of social care.  It is small scale and very personalised, and focuses on what the individual wants. People who use our services say

– they enjoy feeling part of a family
– they do lots of different things
– it’s good to have your own space
– you get lots of choice
– they like being able to be independent with support.

Here are some examples of what we can offer but if you’re looking for something that is not listed here please contact us to discuss – we may still be able to help.  To find out more about making a referral, the cost of our services or to view a selection of our current vacancies please use the links on the left-hand side of this page.

Shared Lives long-term arrangements

For people who are looking for somewhere to live in a family environment with additional care and support. This might be a step towards living more independently or it might be as an alternative to long-term residential care.

Shared Lives short-breaks

For people who need occasional or regular breaks which include some care and support in a home-from-home setting. Short breaks are fun, a chance to try something new and can offer a family carer a much needed break. Short breaks can be anything between a day-time break, or a long weekend, or can run right up to a 28 day stay. A short break can also provide a ‘taster’ of longer term services.

Shared Lives day services

Open to anyone who needs care and support during the day. Day services are delivered in the same way as our long and short-term Shared Lives services – provided by Shared Lives carers in their family home, but may include trips out and activities in the community.

Short breaks for people with dementia

Specialist Shared Lives carers can provide short breaks (typically a day time service or a 1-3 day overnight break) for people with mild to moderate dementia

Transition services – for young people approaching adulthood

We can work with children’s services to plan a transition into our service for a young person approaching adulthood (from the age of 16) either by assessing and approving their current foster carer as Shared Lives carers, or by finding a new match with one an existing carer who has experience in supporting young people into independence.

Just Next Door

A half-way stage between living with a family and living independently – the service is provided by Shared Lives carers who have an annexe or flat that is linked to the family home. It allows people to increase their independent living skills whilst being able to access family based support when they need it.  This is a supported living service with a Shared Lives family feel (rather than a normal Shared Lives service) and as such does not support people with personal care needs.

Flexible community support

Shared Lives carers uses their skills and experience to support someone living in their local community to undertake activities, engage in their local community, manage daily living tasks and live independently. A bit like Just Next Door, this is a community support service with a family feel and not a Shared Lives service as it does not use the carers own home.

Parents with a learning disability

With the right support people with learning disabilities can make great parents – yet shockingly the vast majority of children born to people with learning disabilities are taken into state care. Our pioneering support services for parents with a learning disability help ensure the best start in life for these children within a safe and supportive, family environment.

Shared Lives South West is able to offer a service to a parent with a learning disability and their child enabling the parent to retain parental responsibility and bring up their child with support. Specifically trained Shared Lives carers can offer parenting support and guidance to the person with a learning disability as well as meeting their other support needs, and give the person with a learning disability a settled home life with 24 hour family based support on hand. This service would normally be funded through adult social care and Children’s Services, through the creation of a joint budget and joint service plan with Shared Lives South West. Shared Lives South West is developing an expertise in this field and seeking to expand its provision. For more information about this project or to get involved please contact Janice Brown at jbrown@sharedlivessw.org.uk

Re-ablement and home from hospital

We can offer a period of support for people who wish to return home from hospital but are not quite ready to go home, but no longer need to be in hospital.  The person would stay with a Shared Lives carer for up to 6 weeks, to help them get back on their feet, regain confidence and their daily living skills. Our Shared Lives carer would help them get their home ready to return to, and gradually support them to spend more and more time at home until they feel able to manage on their own. They would also help the person liaise with any support services they would need at home so that this all ready to go. By using Shared Lives to “re-able” people rather than a formal residential setting, people are less likely to get “stuck” in an institutional setting like a hospital ward or a care home. Our Home from Hospital service currently covers Cornwall and Torbay and South Devon  NHS Trust. If you live outside these location we may still be able to help. Contact the project manager Laura Clements at lclements@sharedlivessw.org.uk Download the referral form here:

Additional Information

How to request a Shared Lives service

If you are someone who is looking for a service, a care worker looking for a suitable service for someone you are supporting, or are a family carer wanting to look at service options for a member of your family, then this is what you need to know about requesting a service from Shared Lives South West.

Inform the account owner of Shared Lives that you'd like to see the "" field in their profile.

To do so, click the "Send Message" button below. This will send the profile's account owner a message just letting them know that someone would like them to update their profile. It's completely anonymous and it's just a friendly reminder for the project.

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