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Shared Lives Bedford

Shared Lives Bedford is about sharing your home and family life. It assists adults with learning disabilities to have greater everyday life opportunities within the local community.

Shared lives Bedford matches people who want to use the service with people who want to be Shared Lives carers. 

Find out if you're eligible for Shared Lives from our Adult Learning Disability Team or from Shared Lives directly.

How it works

Shared Lives Bedford provides three main types of support:

Short breaks offer a supportive and enjoyable stay within a safe home. This works best when the person stays with a Shared Lives carer on a regular basis and gets to know them and their family. Short breaks can provide you with the opportunity to make new friends, try new experiences, learn new skills and become more independent. Short breaks can be anything from an overnight stay through to a few weeks away like a holiday.

Long-term placements offer you the chance to live with Shared Lives carers and / or their families on long-term basis. This offers something different to supported living or residential home. 

Short session can include doing something different to your usual day care such as going to the cinema, local pub or a local sporting event. You can learn a new skill, get help with appointments  go swimming or to the gym. It can be almost anything as long as the carer and you are safe.

Matching you with a carer

We will meet with you and / or your family to find out more about the things you need help with, the things you would like to do and what is important to you. We record this on a matching profile. Carers also have matching profiles and we will give you a choice of carers based upon the sharing of the matching profiles. This helps us find the most suitable carer for you and your needs.

If the carer is a suitable match we will introduce you. This involves you and your family meeting the carer wherever you feel most comfortable. If this goes well, more meetings will be arranged. These meetings help you decide if you are happy to continue with the Shared Lives process. If this goes well the carer will work with you to plan your support and look at any risks which is known as support planning. 

Women with dogs

If after this you and everyone else are happy, we will start your support with the Shared Lives carer. After support has started, we will regularly check with you, your family and your carers. We do this to ensure that everything is going well and help sort out anything that may come up as part of a new placement.

Could you be a Shared Lives carer?

Do you have room in your heart and your home? If you are patient, have empathy, a sense of humour and the ability to meet the challenges presented by everyday life, then you could be a Shared Lives carer.

If you can give anything from a few hours a week during the day, evenings or weekends, or short and longer term support. 

We are particularly interested in hearing from people who represent the diverse communities and cultures within Bedford and the local surrounding area.

  • anyone who lives within Bedford and surrounding areas
  • single people, couples, families
  • anyone that can demonstrate the right type of qualities required to carry out the role
  • it’s also useful if you have a specific interest or skill that you would like to share with someone who has support needs but this is not essential

You don’t need to have care work experience or even experience of people with support needs. Shared Lives Bedford will assist you in every aspect of the support you provide from the initial application and training, right through to supporting the person and helping them to develop and beyond.

Safety checks

Shared Lives Bedford Carers are carefully recruited people who go through a series of assessments, interviews and training, as well as police and other checks. When all of this is completed, Shared Lives Bedford and the carer put together a report which is shared with a group of people known as the Approval Panel. The Approval Panel makes the final decision to approve whether the Shared Lives carer can provide support. Once approved, Shared Lives Bedford carers can be matched to a service user.


Shared Lives Bedford provide training and support to enable you to assist individuals and meet their needs as well as develop your own skills and knowledge in this area. Shared Lives Bedford offers regular supervision, ongoing monitoring support and plenty of opportunities for you to develop your understanding of the role. 


All Shared Lives carers are self employed and receive competitive payments for the support or sessions that they provide. This is based upon the type of support and time that carers spend supporting service users. In addition, the government offers significant income tax incentives for Shared Lives carers, often meaning that carers don’t pay income tax although you will be required to have specific insurance and pay national insurance contributions.

Apply to be a Shared Lives carer

You can apply to be a Shared Lives carer using our online form.

To complete your application, you will need to provide:

  • your full employment history
  • contact details for two referees (one of whom should be your current or most recent employer, the other should be a personal referee)

All Shared Lives carers are subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Apply to be a Shared Lives carer

The Shared Lives team 

If you have any questions about being a Shared Lives carer you can contact the team on: 

Care Quality Commission report and rating

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