What is Shared Lives in Swansea?

Meet the Shared Lives Team 9th August 2016 – Phoenix Centre, Paradise Park, Powys Avenue, SWANSEA, SA1 6PH


What is Shared Lives? Who are ategi? How do I become a Shared Lives Carer? How can I live or stay with a Shared Lives Carer? Who is Shared Lives for?

Join the ategi Shared Lives Team at an informal drop-in morning between 10am and 12.00 on Tuesday 9th August 2016 to hear how care and support is provided within the ordinary family homes of our Shared Lives Carers.

10.00 – drop in for tea/coffee
11.00-11.15 – short talk about Shared Lives – Tim Southern ategi CEO
12.00 – close

This session is suitable for anyone who wants to know more about Shared Lives including: Adult Social Workers, Health Workers, Care Managers, general public.

To find out more ring 02920814800 or email mailto:SLSWales@ategi.co.uk


Homeless and vulnerable without Shared Lives


The Substance Misuse Team approached ategi about Andrew (not his real name); a gentleman who had been living in his own home for years before being admitted to hospital because his use of alcohol had resulted in him having seizures. In his late 40’s, Andrew had been unable to cope with his day to day life for many years and was extremely vulnerable. People took advantage of him financially and his health was of great concern. It became clear that he could not manage without support.

He was living in a hostel for homeless people when he was first introduced to his Shared Lives Carers. They supported another man already and all of them hit it off immediately. Within a few months Andrew’s health, appearance and well being had improved dramatically. Andrew was unable to manage his own money and his Shared Lives Carer was able to support him to organise his finances and help him begin to think about his longer term future.

Andrew is now happy, settled and enjoys the company of the household including the Carers’ and their teenage son. He is now able to moderate his alcohol intake but can still meet up with his friends to play skittles knowing that he can talk through his worries with his Carer when he needs to.

Andrew has been matched with another Shared Lives Carer who he spends time with throughout the week to try out new activities or just to spend time together as two middle aged men enjoying each others company.

Many people jump to conclusions about the kind of support Shared Lives Carers can offer. In Andrews case the people that knew him didn’t think an ordinary family could cope with him yet their patience, flexibility and consistency proved to be exactly what Andrew needed.

This is not a care home!


“This is not a care home, it’s a family home. Lily is a big part of my family and the ategi Shared Lives Scheme staff have already made a big difference to my life”.

Maria remembers always having a caring nature and she joined a scheme in Cardiff in the 1980’s that asked ordinary families to offer support in their homes to older people. The scheme ended and Maria was asked to support a woman with learning disabilities called Lily (not her real name) who was introduced by a social worker before moving in with Maria and her family.

 About 15 years ago Maria was told the she needed to register with the inspection unit because of the care she was providing. With little understanding of the system and no direct support Maria became a registered care home. She always included Lily in her day to day activities and her own children then grandchildren saw Lily as part of the family but after a while the regulatory requirements placed more and more demands on Maria because the rules around the provision of registered care did not differentiate between large, staffed Care Homes and small ordinary family homes like Maria’s. She had to provide a separate area for Lily to eat her meals and had to create a separate sitting area even though Lily preferred to eat and socialise with Maria, her family and friends. She felt very isolated and became increasingly challenged because her house did not meet the requirements of a registered care home. No one questioned Maria’s ability to support Lily but she felt that she was inspected but had no support or guidance leaving her to feel under great pressure and stress. 

Maria  has been assessed and approved by the ategi Shared Lives Scheme and is now an Approved Shared Lives Carer. The ategi Shared Lives Scheme is registered with CSSIW in Wales which means that Maria has a named team member who supports her to provide support to Lily within the regulatory requirements. There is a clear agreement about her support role but also about what support she will get from the scheme. Maria and Lily get together with their scheme worker and a care manager regularly to make sure that things are going well and that Maria and Lily are happy with the arrangements.

 Maria is absolutely delighted because she now has the opportunity to meet other Shared Lives Carers; she is able to attend training with ategi and is helping Lily to be matched and introduced to another Shared Lives Carer so that they can both have occasional breaks from each other. Maria still goes on holiday with Lily and they continue their full and happy lifestyle together. She now feels she has the support and back up from the Shared Lives Team and though she recognises the need for her role to be monitored she believes she is part of an organisation that shares her values and who will be there to support her in her role.

 Maria feels so much more positive about the situation for her and Lily. She says, “This is not a care home, it’s a family home. Lily is a big part of my family and the ategi Shared Lives Scheme staff have already made a big difference to my life”.

Three Tips for Shared Lives Carers

1. Engage with your Shared Lives Scheme:

There are many different approaches to providing Shared Lives services but one thing is clear; there is no scheme without Shared Lives Carers. Equally Shared Lives cannot be provided without the regulated oversight of a registered Shared Lives Scheme. So, whether people realise it or not, a Shared Lives Scheme has to be seen as a partnership between Shared Lives Carers and Scheme workers so that the people who use Shared Lives really get what they need. Most Shared Lives Schemes recognise this but if they don’t it doesn’t mean that with a nudge from Shared Lives Carers they wouldn’t be open to a more collaborative approach. At each of the ategi Shared Lives Schemes we hold regular Scheme meetings where literally anyone involved or interested in Shared Lives can join us to talk about topical issues and future plans. We also encourage smaller groups of interested Shared Lives Caers to contribute to Carer Fourum meetings to consider more Strategic things.

2. Tell your stories:

In spite of the great work by Shared Lives Plus to raise the profile of Shared Lives it is still clear that many, many people have no idea that they or their relatives could live or stay in ordinary family households within their own community. Shared Lives Carers and the people they support are undoubtedly the best people to tell the positive stories about their lives. Don’t underestimate what you may consider to be to ordinary. Everyone deserves an ordinary, meaningful, rewarding life so tell your stories. I would love to hear from anyone who has a simple story to tell about Shared Lives. You can respond here and I’ll help you.

3. Join Shared Lives Plus:

Every ategi Shared Lives Carer is a member of this member organisation for Shared Lives providers. We pay for it because we think it is important for our Carers to know what’s happening in other parts of the country. But we also think it is important that if we, for some reason, are unable to provide support to our Carers, they have somewhere to go for advice, support and even legal help if needed. If your Scheme doesn’t have the facility to pay membership join yourself. There are many benefits and it is very reasonable. Go to www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk 

Helpful? Let me know what you think

Benefits for ategi staff

staff sketch

We have a strong record for retaining staff at ategi and I am proud of our loyal and committed staff teams across the organisation.

Another productive and careful year has enabled ategi to confirm a 1% uplift for staff for a third year running. But the senior team are always looking for ways to make life a little better for staff where they can.

Here’s a reminder of benefits already available:

  • WHA Health Benefits – Every staff member can claim for a range of optical, dental or other health treatments from £75 up to £150 depending on the treatment. Ask your manager or Tracy Davies our HR Manager for more details.
  • Pension – After one year’s service all staff (excluding Relief staff) could choose to join our pension scheme with Scottish Widows. If you contribute a minimum of 4% of your basic salary ategi will contribute 6%.
  • Death in Service – 2 x salary for each member of staff (excluding Relief staff) up to the age of 75. Tracy will be sending out details of this soon to remind staff along with a form to clarify your chosen beneficiary.
  • Child Care Vouchers – Potential savings on childcare up to £933 per parent per year.

Additionally we have arranged some retail discounts with Busy Bees which can save hundreds of pounds for people who choose to take part. Staff should have received details by email but Laurence Taylor, ategi Finance Manager can give any further information.

Screenshot 2016-05-03 15.55.52.png: Screenshot 2016-05-03 15.47.24

We hope that our staff will find these things a positive addition to their work with ategi. We intend to trial the Busy Bees offer this year and hope that staff will let me know what they think of it and we will aim to continue it if people like it. Meanwhile we on the lookout for additional benefits.