Charity creates 50 'ultimate lockdown job opportunities'

Shared Lives South West staff Amanda Greig, finance and short breaks administrator, Samantha Finnon, admin, and...

Shared Lives South West staff Amanda Greig, finance and short breaks administrator, Samantha Finnon, admin, and Alison Kingdon, finance manager, celebrate their accolade - Credit: Shared Lives South West

People who pride themselves on being caring and compassionate are being offered the ultimate lockdown job opportunity - getting paid to look after someone in their own home.

Shared Lives South West (SLSW), a South Devon care provider that promotes supported shared living, is looking for 50 people to open up their homes and hearts to people who need support for mental health, dementia, or a learning disability , and earn up to £550 a week in return. 

The call to action comes after the Kingsteignton-based charity won a national award in recognition of how it has adapted and revolutionised its assessment process for new carers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Debbie Rowsell, 55, is a Shared Lives carer based in Dawlish and is encouraging others to apply. She said: “Being a Shared Lives carer is a job that sounds a little too good to be true – but it isn’t! The money is good, the hours are flexible and most important of all, you are providing a loving and supportive home for someone who needs it.

“I love being able to open my home to others and provide a family style care placement. I’m my own boss, which means I can support those I care for in the ways that most suits them. There’s not one size fits all approach to care, the flexibility of Shared Lives really changes the lives of those I care for.” 

Carers can provide day care, over-night care or a permanent home for a diverse range of people who need support in everyday life. This could be anyone from young people leaving care, those with mental or physical disabilities, to older people or those needing short term support following hospital treatment.   

Shared Lives South West carers come from a whole range of caring careers. As well as care workers who’ve switched from other social care settings, current carers include former foster carers, health care professionals and those who’ve provided informal unpaid care.  

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Dominic Spayne, CEO at SLSW, said: “To be a Shared Lives carer you need to have some form of care experience, a spare room and most importantly the passion to support someone and help them live their best life by sharing yours. 

“Currently across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, we have 300 carers from an array of backgrounds. The security and flexibility of Shared Lives means we have many carers who also have a young family at home. They can welcome someone into their loving home, while fitting their job around a busy family life. 

“We also have a good proportion of foster carers who transition to SLSW and retirees who are looking for the next challenge and want to make a difference to someone else’s life. 

“Although 2020 has brought challenges to recruitment, it is also an exciting time for us. We’re sharing our ideas and skills, and working in partnership with other Shared Lives schemes to find and recruit new carers.” 

The innovation award was presented to SLSW at the Shared Lives Plus awards in recognition of the team’s work to help recruit carers faster. SLSW, which has been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, has adapted the lengthy six-month carer application process to around five weeks, while still maintaining the high standards Shared Lives is recognised for. 

The team also worked with local authorities and under guidance from the Care Quality Commission to scrutinise the process and ensured best practice continues. 

The team has also worked to move most of the application, training and approval process online – a must during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Laura Maker, registered manager at SLSW Devon, said: “We are thrilled to win this award and it is testament to the whole staff team. 

“We never rest on our laurels and continue to evolve our services and feel proud to fly the flag for the care sector.” 

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