Shared Lives Scheme

A creative scheme to help adults with learning difficulties have a short break is on the search for new families to join the project who can provide a welcoming home.

Shared Lives is like adult fostering – people provide short breaks in their home for an adult with learning difficulties, which gives the individual a change of scenery and provides a spell of respite for their full time carer and family.

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults’ Service Peter Catchpole said: “To join the scheme, you need to have a spare room in your home, an awareness of how to care for people, and be able to involve the person staying with your family in home life and hobbies.”

Activities people can do include taking a pet for a walk, supporting a local sports event, going out for a meal, visiting friends and relatives, going to the beach, or going to the local pub.

Peter added: “This scheme provides a valuable service offering regular carers a break and the chance for people with learning difficulties to experience a new environment and to socialise with new friends and communities.”

New households would be welcomed from all across West Sussex, in particular the Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex areas where there is a shortage of people signed up to the scheme.

The County Council is also looking to develop a ‘day share’ scheme and is keen to hear from potential carers who could offer someone regular opportunities to join in their normal day, for example food shopping, walking a dog, fishing or gardening, or even joining in hobbies such as woodwork, and arts and crafts.

There’s also an opportunity to provide longer term care in your family home for adults with learning difficulties. The County Council is always on the lookout for families who have a spare room, and are able to welcome someone into their family and give them support, advice and guidance.

People who are interested in being trained to become a paid Shared Lives Carer and can make a regular commitment can contact the Shared Lives scheme on 01444 254463 or contact Jo Braine (Shared Lives Scheme Manager) on 07702 668911, or e-mail There is further information on the County Council website at