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Family based care for adults with support needs

Shared Lives

From 18 August 2014 Shared Lives willl be part of Surrey Choices, a new local authority trading company owned by Surrey County Council. For more information see

The Surrey Shared Lives service offers people with a learning or physical disability, mental health needs or support needs due to their age, the opportunity to live with an individual or family in a home environment.

It provides them with an independent, supportive and caring environment, where they'll get the chance to participate in family and community life - something they may never have experienced before.

Care could be provided on a long or short-term basis, or just during the day, or even respite care - in other words caring for someone while their carer is on holiday, or taking a break from caring.

Who can become a Shared Lives carer?

Shared Lives carers come from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and live in all kinds of homes. You don't need lots of qualifications but need a genuine interest in caring for someone and welcoming them into your home and family life. You will need to have a spare bedroom, be patient and committed, and willing to include the person you are caring for in your everyday life.

You will have experience of caring whether through paid or voluntary work, or through caring for someone.

Two people in a Shared Lives setting

What does being a Shared Lives carer involve?

It depends upon the person who is being supported, however includes:

  • Offering emotional support
  • Encouraging social contact - taking them to friends and family and encouraging them to join in activities, with you and your family and within the community
  • Building confidence
  • Support to develop practical skills - washing and dressing themselves, day to day activities such as cooking, cleaning and taking them shopping.

You need to have motivation, enthusiasm and a wish to make a difference.

How can I find out more about the Shared Lives service?

For more information about the Shared Lives service, please contact us on:

  • Telephone: 01372 833191
  • Email:
  • Address: Shared Lives Service, Fairmount House, Bull Hill, Leatherhead KT22 7AH.

Further information and resources

Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives Plus is a UK charity that was established in 1992 to represent the interests of all those involved in Shared Lives, to promote high standards of practice and to raise awareness of Shared Lives. Membership is open to Shared Lives scheme managers and workers, Shared Lives carers, and people using Shared Lives services. The Surrey County Council Shared Lives Service is an active member of Shared Lives Plus.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Shared Lives schemes provide the regulated activity of 'personal care' and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The CQC inspect and monitor the Surrey Shared Lives Service against the Essential Standards for Quality and Safety.

Free online course for Shared Lives carers

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides information for anyone who is self-employed, including an online course specifically relevant to Shared Lives carers. In the links below, there is a general link to the HMRC website, as well as links to the course tailored for Shared Lives, plus another online course of interest to anyone who is starting their own business.

HMRC Shared Lives e-learning guide to setting up your own business

HMRC live and pre-recorded webinars

HMRC Simple record keeping apps for mobile devices

HMRC Self-employed ready reckoner - this allows businesses to calculate Tax/NIC based on their net profit. Very useful for budgeting/cash flow.

HMRC Tax fact sheets

Care Quality Commission page on Shared Lives Scheme - Surrey County Council

Files available to download

Page information

  • Updated: 05 Feb 2013
  • Michelle Williams
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