Podcast Episode 23. Independence can be reached in many ways. Shared Lives in the UK offers one approach to help people with additional needs develop independence focused skills based on a holistic approach. This week we talk to Karen from Shared Lives who explains how this innovative program works

Shared Lives matches hosts with people requiring support to develop certain skills. It offers a more individualized and a supportive family and community focusing approach. There are a variety of ways to access the program, whether that be a full time placement within a family or day opportunities where hosts might teach specific skills such as baking.

Karen explains how Shared Lives works and the benefits of being in a home environment with 1:1 support which enables skills to be developed at the pace of the individual. Karen says one advantage of the Shared Lives approach is the ability to tailor to an individual needs and provide sustained support at the level they need for a timescale that suits them.

Karen also talks about the process of selecting people to be hosts and how it ensures the safety of the individuals being supported. The unique approach to matching hosts to individuals is also discussed and the way it enables individuals to have choice in how and who supports them to reach their goals.

The Shared Lives approach works because it focuses on the individual and is not time constrained when it comes to achieving goals. While it may not be the right approach for everyone there is no doubt it provides people with additional needs the chance to not only develop skills and relationships but also to become a valued part of their community.

Show Notes
[3.20]   – Background on Karen and Shared Lives
[4.30]  – The flexibility of the Shared Lives approach
[5.20]  – A success story
[6.10]  – The importance of community
[6.30]  – Using Shared Lives as a stepping stone
[7.00]  – Becoming a host
[9.00]  – The skills that can be gained
[9.50]  – Measuring progress
[10.30] – It’s the amount and quality of the time spent that leads to progress
[11.20] – Understanding the individuals triggers
[12.15] – The lack of awareness of the Shared Lives scheme
[13.00] – Matching people the right way
[14.30] – Choice and control

Key Takeaway
There are organisations out there offering solutions that might suit your young person