Our founder, Grace Eyre Woodhead, started what would become Shared Lives in 1898. As the oldest and longest running Shared Lives service in the UK, we are a trusted provider



You don’t have to have a learning disability to benefit from this service. If you want to see if it would be suitable for you get in contact and let’s talk.

Shared Lives is regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

For more information
Please call us on 01273 201 903 or email sharedlives@grace-eyre.org.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Shared Lives

Who is a Shared Lives Carer?

A Shared Lives carer is someone who opens up their home and family life to include and adult with support needs.

Shared Lives carers come from all walks of life and don’t need qualifications or experience, just the right attitude and a willingness to truly share their lives with another person.

Shared Lives carers are carefully selected and trained by a regulated Shared Lives Scheme. They are paid a fixed amount per week and have access to preferential tax arrangements.

At Grace Eyre, we recruit, assess and support our Shared Lives carers to provide family-based placements to adults with a range of disabilities and needs within the carer’s home.

How long will someone with additional needs live with me?

A placement can either be on a long-term basis or as a respite (short-term). Both service models will offer meaningful care and support to the individual, enabling them to be an active participant within the carer’s family and their local community.

How can I apply to become a Shared Lives carer?

We are looking to recruit and provide training to people to become Shared Lives carers.

Please fill in and submit an application form and someone from the scheme will contact you to have a discussion about your application and to explain a little more about the ethos of Shared Lives and being a carer with Grace Eyre. This will hopefully lead to a home visit being agreed and arranged to take the application to the next level.

What will happen on the first visit to my home?

A visit will be arranged to your home. At this visit the assessment process will be explained and the Shared Lives Worker will ask to look around your property, ensuring that your home is suitable in terms of cleanliness, space and appropriate accessibility.


The bedroom will need to meet the following standards:

  • a reasonable sized room with adequate furniture in a good, clean condition and in a decorative order
  • adequate storage (wardrobes/drawers)

Communal Space

Communal space should be spacious enough to enable the supported person to be able to engage with all the people that live in the property.

If the potential carer’s home meets these requirements, the recruitment process will move to the next stage known as assessment.

What happens during the assessment process?

The Shared Lives Worker will arrange to visit you again to begin the assessment process. This will include discussing aspects of your application, such as your background, personality, lifestyle, health issues and locality. This is a detailed assessment, which will include separate discussions with other members of your household (including children).

The number of visits will depend on how long it takes to acquire all necessary information. At any point during the assessment process your application may be declined or withdrawn.

Do I need specific qualifications?

You do not need any formal skills or qualifications, but you will need to be able to devote time and energy to enable a person with a disability to develop to their full potential.

You will be required to undergo training and all news carers must achieve the new Care Certificate. The Care Certificate is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life.

The Care Certificate gives everyone the confidence that workers have the same introductory skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe and high-quality care and support.

You will be invited to a series of training sessions before your application is fully approved. The training will cover areas that are relevant to becoming a carer such as communications skills, health issues and learning disabilities and moving and handling.

The Care Certificate will enable you to gain all the required skills. You will be supported through the Grace Eyre Share Lives Scheme to gain the certificate, which is also transferable to some other social care roles.

What happens after the assessment process?

Once all information relating to the assessment has been gathered, the Shared Lives Worker will complete an assessment report. This will then be submitted to an approval panel with a recommendation.

The approval panel is responsible for the approval of prospective Shared Lives carers. It will be a joint decision from the members of the panel as to whether you will be approved. You will be informed officially in writing of the panel’s decision.

How will I be paid?

The Local Authority/Council makes payments to Grace Eyre for the service you provide. Payment is calculated by the Grace Eyre finance team with regard to the length of stay and the support needs of the individual.

Payments are made gross to the carer. It is the responsibility of the carer to notify HM Inspector of Taxes each year of the relevant tax return of the gross sum received.

HMRC have produced an e-learning package for Shared Lives carers to help them evaluate how much tax and National Insurance they are expected to pay on earnings as a self-employed carer using ‘qualifying care’ tax relief.


Do I need insurance?

Shared Lives carers are required to have insurances in place, such as public liability and home contents. The Shared Lives team can give you more details about this. You will also find some additional information on the Shared Lives Plus website:

Insurance if you need it

Who will have access to my information?

All information and records kept regarding your application to be a carer will be treated as confidential and subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.

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