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Our services

Anna and Lin 1We offer a wide range of Shared Lives services across Devon, Cornwall. Torbay and Plymouth for anyone aged over 16 and can support a  diverse range of support needs through our network of over 250 Shared Lives carers.  Our services can support people with a learning disability, people with mental health issues, older people, people with dementia, young people in transition, and parents with a learning disability.  We can also provide home from hospital services and re-ablement 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. Shared Lives can be an amazing resource for people with dementia and their families – find out more by watching Pat and Roger’s story.

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 (fromthe 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 Jane Bell, chief executive at

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.