South Tyneside Council largeAn innovative scheme which sees people from South Tyneside sharing their lives with vulnerable adults has been officially rated as “good” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Shared Lives scheme, run by South Tyneside Council, provides long term placements, short breaks and emergency support to adults with a learning disability who live with approved carers in their home.

The scheme has been rated as good for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The report from CQC inspectors said: “We observed carers and people together. It was clear that people were very much part of the family, being involved in holidays, days out and also accompanying carers on extended family member visits or parties.

“Carers showed genuine affection for the person they were supporting with actions and gestures demonstrating a positive relationship. Carers were central to developing people’s skills and independence.”

Inspectors found the processes used to recruit carers to be robust and thorough and staff were knowledgeable and had the skills to support people and carers. People felt they were treated with dignity and respect and carers showed genuine affection for the people they were supporting.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: “By offering the security and comfort of a home and family life, carers are providing an invaluable service supporting people in our communities.

“This service has made a real, positive difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable people but it is wonderful to receive official recognition.

“I would like to thank both the carers and staff who go the extra mile to make this scheme the success it is. Many of our carers choose to get involved in the scheme because they want to give something back to the community and I know they get as much out of it as the people being supported.”

The service currently supports 47 carers in South Tyneside with a further 21 who support with short breaks. Carers receive a weekly fee as well as full training and support from professionals. There is also a strong network of peer-to-peer support in the Shared Lives community.

The service is keen to hear from anyone interested in becoming a carer. For further information, ring (0191) 424 4439 or visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/sharedlives