.Shared Lives South West is celebrating winning a national award for its innovative work at the Shared Lives Plus Awards.
It took home the Sheme Innovation Award at the online ceremony, which celebrated the Shared Living sector.
The organisation, which provides care and support to people with additional needs, is one of 150 Shared Lives schemes nationally.
It beat off strong competition at the awards, thanks to diversifying and growing the services it offers.
Not only does it support people with learning disabilities to get the support they need, it has also developed to help people with mental health issues, the older generation in rural communities, parents with additional needs, those coming home from hospital as well as victims of domestic violence.
Award judges were also impressed with how Shared Lives South West has adapted and revolutionalised its assessment process for new carers coming into SLSW during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SLSW team has worked tirelessly to adapt the lengthy six month process to around five weeks, while maintaining high standard. It worked with local authorities and guidance from the Care Quality Commission to scrutinise the process and ensured best practice continues.
Much of the process, due to Covid-19, now takes place online and new carers can still be assessed thoroughly.
“Shared Lives South West is thrilled to win this award and it is testament to the whole staff team,” said Laura Maker, Team Leader.
“We never rest on our laurels and continue to evolve our services and feel proud to fly the flag for the care sector.
“We now offer a wide range of services and always strive to grow to support those needing a Shared Lives service.”
The scheme has seen a rise in people enquiring to become carers during the pandemic, with a big draw factor of being able to work from home.
“We’ve had more people contact us as working from home is appealing right now,” said Dominic Spayne, CEO at SLSW.
“To be a Shared Lives Carer you need to have some form of care experience. You also need a spare room and most importantly be able to able to support someone to help them thrive.
“Currently across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, we have 300 carers from an array of backgrounds. Some are young families where they want to work from home so that they can be around their children, others decided on big career changes to become carers at SLSW.
“We also have foster carers who transition to SLSW and retired people who still have something to give and want to do a positive role.”
Shared Live South West, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, is also currently part of a national pilot project funded by a national lottery grant to recruit new carers during the pandemic
It is one of four Shared Lives from across the country involved.
“Although it a challenging time, it is also an exciting time. We are sharing our ideas and skills and working in partnership with other Shared Lives schemes to find and recruit new carers,” said Dominic.