A new drive has been launched that aims to help disabled adults stay independent for longer.
Surrey County Council is aiming to swell the ranks of full-time Shared Lives carers for people with learning and physical disabilities and those with mental health problems to 80 over the next three years in a move that would also manage to save the authority £1 million.
The call for people to come forward aims to build on the momentum generated by this month’s national Shared Lives Week*.
Nearly 20 have already joined the scheme and more are being urged to open their homes to disabled people who would rather maintain their independence than live in a care home.
Reaching the target would save an estimated £1m on the cost of residential care at the same time as helping to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people.
Greg and Alex from Farnham have been supporting Clare for the past 18 months.
Alex said: “She’s learned and come on so much. She’s got a new boyfriend, she’s learning new skills and we’ve just thoroughly enjoyed the last 18 months with Clare. It’s been very rewarding.”
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care Michael Gosling said: “Vulnerable adults want what we all want – familiar surroundings and stability – and they don’t want to be stuck in residential homes. Shared Lives carers do a wonderful job of helping them retain this independence, which also saves considerable public funds.”
The support is flexible and can range having someone living as part of the family to going out for a coffee or to the cinema or offering overnight stays. All Shared Lives carers are given training and paid an allowance for the support they provide.
To watch a video of Greg, Alex and Clare, follow this link.
* The nationwide campaign ran until 21 October.