Shared Lives Week kicked off on Monday 17 June with the successful launch of Kirklees Council’s new Shared Lives website (www.kirklees.gov.uk/sharedlives) where people can find out more about how to become a Shared Lives carer and also offers support for existing carers.

Shared Lives was established in the borough 32 years ago and involves carers opening their family homes to support adults with additional needs, either long term, for short breaks and respite care. The scheme provides high-quality, regulated care, helping people to build a complete life in their community, enabling access to more activities through a supportive living environment.

Information on the drop-in sessions

Deputy Mayor Nigel Patrick, who was at the official launch said, “Kirklees Shared Lives assists vulnerable adults with a care option based within a registered carers home, offering independence and social inclusion. Shared Lives currently supports 69 people across Kirklees, but with a population of over 400,000 there are so many other individuals that would benefit from this type of care.”

Shared Lives carer Claire Smith with service user Shelly and the Deputy Mayor Nigel Patrick and wife Deputy Mayoress Judith Patrick.

Our Shared Lives carers come from all different walks of life, regardless of religion, sexuality or relationship status. As long as they are 18+ and have a spare room, they can apply to become a Shared Lives carer. You don’t need any specific qualifications or experience – you just need to care and be willing to share your home and make a real difference to someone’s life. Once approved, carers receive support and training through their time with Shared Lives.

Over the summer, the Shared Lives team at Kirklees Council are hosting a number of drop in sessions across the borough.

Adele Whitely lives in Heckmondwike and has been a Shared Lives carer for 32 years and in her time has helped care for two long term service users and now offers respite care. She said, “It works both ways, we helped them and they enhanced our lives so much. With different activities and social events. We’ve gone through some special times – happy and sad. All I can say is, if you’ve got a lot of love to give then Shared Lives needs you.”