People who pride themselves on being caring and compassionate are being offered the ultimate work from home opportunity – getting paid to look after someone within their own household.
The charity Shared Lives Plus has announced more than 160 jobs for the new year.
In a reverse of typical care services, the new roles, created by Shared Lives Plus, are the ‘ultimate lockdown job opportunity’ as they see carers provide innovative Shared Lives support in their own home – on either a long-term, respite or day-support basis.
The posts are particularly welcome amid fears for the social care sector, which has faced huge challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and risks a swathe of empty beds by the end of 2021, leaving traditional care home jobs in jeopardy.
Alex Fox, CEO Shared Lives Plus, the UK membership charity for Shared Lives carers and shared living services, said: “The social care sector has faced extraordinary pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, on an already creaking, under—funded system and it’s likely this will continue in future.
“We believe the Shared Lives format of matching people into the homes of carers will ensure we continue to provide support for those who need it but in a kinder, more social environment.
“Shared Lives carers already support 15,000 people across the UK, so we are thrilled to bolster our numbers by 160 carers this January. These new roles are the perfect opportunity for those who are looking for a more flexible career or looking for a new challenge.”
Becoming a Shared Live carer also comes with a good salary, including £10k tax free, plus up to £6k tax free for each person supported (with a max of three people). Carers are self-employed, so there are no zero hours contracts, which enables them to do the role as part of their family and life commitments. People who visit or live with Shared Lives carers range from young people leaving care, to older people, those with dementia or someone just needing short term support following hospital treatment.
Emily and Allen Portwood are Shared Lives carers based in Warrington and have opened up their home to two young adults, Molly and Tyler. Emily said: “To us, this isn’t a job, it’s about providing a home, security and happiness within our family for those who need it.
“We got into it because Allen, who is a former policeman and has his own MOT garage, was really inspired to help young adults. We looked at all the options and Shared Lives was the perfect choice – there are no unsociable hours away from our family and we can just include them in our lives. We have a big family already – it’s just got a little bigger!”
The jobs announcement follows a £300,000 funding boost from the government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, aimed at rapid recruitment of Shared Lives carers across the UK.
Shared Lives is using the funding to develop an online recruitment and assessment website as well as fast-tracking new applicants. This reduces the need for face-to-face meetings as part of the process and will speed applications up from six months to six weeks. This will be the first time the charity’s members have adopted an online recruitment process.
Anna McEwen, Executive Director of Support and Development at Shared Lives Plus, said: “One thing this pandemic has taught charities across the country is to embrace technology and look at alternative ways of working. Shared Lives services have adapted throughout the pandemic, continuing to recruit, assess and support arrangements. By creating an online recruitment portal and assessment process we have adapted a lengthy six-month application process to around six weeks, while still maintaining the high standards Shared Lives is recognised for.”
Across the UK, there are 10,000 Shared Lives Carers supporting more than 15,000 adults, through 140 different schemes. The sector has grown by more than 30 percent in recent years. Local Shared Lives services are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission, which consistently rates the model as the best quality and safest form of adult social care, with 95% of all Shared Lives schemes rated as good or outstanding.
Shared Lives Carers, who come from a range of careers are carefully matched with their guests and encouraged to help them develop practical skills, build self-esteem and establish new friendships and social networks in their own neighbourhood, which creates a sense of belonging and community. Training and a support network are provided to all Shared Lives carers.
To become a Shared Lives carer, you must be over 18 years of age and don’t need specific qualifications, just the right values, commitment and of course, a spare bedroom.
To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer, go to https://sharedlivesplus.org.uk/start-your-shared-life/