Good Rating for South Tyneside's Shared Lives Service

Posted by: Press Team on 20 February 2024 10:47

A service which helps people with a learning disability to live independently has been rated Good by the Care Quality Commission.

South Tyneside Council's Shared Lives scheme involves carers providing support in their family home to adults with a learning disability and/or autism.

In their report, inspectors say they found people were well supported to live the lives they wanted.

They found people were well-matched to their carers and staff proactively helped people develop their independence.

The inspectors found the service to be safe with people encouraged to take positive risks to enhance their quality of life. They highlighted the practical training offered for gaining confidence in using public transport, trying new activities and going to new places.

The report also found the service to be well-led with leaders providing high quality, person-centred care.

The report adds: "There was a strong shared ethos that put people first. Shared Lives carers told us they felt well supported and that managers and link officers worked well with them.

"The provider ensured staff worked together cohesively with each other and external partners to achieve good outcomes for people. People felt part of a family, which was one of the provider's key aims, and were able to build fulfilling lives as a result."

Shared Lives carer Marie Scanlan, 61, of Biddick Hall in South Shields, describes the role as 'a lifestyle, not a job.'

Cllr Ruth Berkley is pictured with Marie Scanlan and Anita Arnott
Cllr Ruth Berkley is pictured with Marie Scanlan and Anita Arnott

She started caring for Anita Arnott, who has autism, four years ago and delights in seeing the positive changes in her.

She said: "I started doing Shared Lives when I still worked as a hairdresser but deciding to become a full-time Shared Lives carer was the best choice I've ever made.

"Anita has become so much more independent and confident since coming to live with me. She gets the bus to her day activities, goes shopping and she has lost a lot of weight and is no longer diabetic."

Mam-of-three Marie added: "Anita is part of our family. My grandchildren have empathy with people with learning disabilities because they have grown up with Anita.

"Being a Shared Lives carer is not just a job, it's part of your life and it enriches your life in ways you cannot even imagine."

Anita added: "I love living with Marie and her family. Everyone is very kind and I am happy and independent."

Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for Adults, Health and Independence, said: "Shared Lives is a wonderful service that enables people with a learning disability to be part of a loving family - something which most of us take for granted.

"I am delighted that the CQC recognised the positive culture of the service. My thanks go to all the staff involved and, of course, our network of wonderful Shared Lives carers without whom this service could not run."

The Council is always looking for more Shared Lives carers. To find out more email


Last modified: 20 February 2024 10:55