Shared Lives is a unique service managed by Portsmouth City Council for adults who may need a bit of extra help because of a physical or learning disability or mental health need.

These adults stay in the homes of their Shared Lives carers for long stays, short stays, or day support, and they share their hosts’ family and community life.

Carers can support with daily activities such as cooking, budgeting and laundry. They also help service users to get involved in the local community, with voluntary work or other activities like shopping, swimming, or going to the theatre.

Phil is a Shared Lives Carer for Stephen and Daniel, and also offers short stays for those who need it.

Phil said:

“I’ve been a Shared Lives Carer for ten years now. It’s full on but very rewarding. We all respect each other and are open and honest – it’s important that Daniel and Stephen feel safe and happy. I support them to live independently, and they help around the house and with cooking. We enjoy spending time together, and go to the pub, for walks, and do quizzes.

For anyone who might be thinking about becoming a Shared Lives carer, I would say go for it, and go into it with an open mind. More than anything else, it’s about your personality and what you have to give.”

Daniel has lived with Phil for nine years. He said:

“I like having the freedom to live how I want to. It feels like my house and I feel part of the family – not just our Shared Lives household, but part of Phil’s extended family too.”

If you have a spare room and could welcome a vulnerable adult to live as part of your family, you could be a Shared Lives carer.

Shared Lives households come in all shapes and sizes – it doesn’t matter whether you’re single, an older couple, or have children. Some Shared Lives carers continue to work, and some make Shared Lives their full-time jobs.

You get paid for being a Shared Lives carer – the amount varies depending on how much of your time is needed, but it can be between £250 and £400 a week.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Health & Care at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“We’re really proud of the Shared Lives service in Portsmouth, which opens up family and community life to vulnerable adults across the city. We are looking for more Shared Lives carers so that we can continue to help those who need a little extra support to live fulfilled and independent lives.

I encourage anyone who might be interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer to contact the Shared Lives team and find out more.”

For more information about Shared Lives, visit https://portsmouth.gov.uk/sharedlives, or contact the team at shared.lives@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or 07957 384 969.