Nicola helps people find their perfect Shared Lives placement

Posted on
13 March 2023

Nicola, who also works at The Victoria Centre, tells us about being a member of the Shared Lives Approval Panel.


Tell us about your background and how you came to join the panel.

I have many years’ experience of supporting people with learning and physical disabilities, in their own homes, in Persona’s Learning Disability Day Service, in an education setting and in supported volunteer settings.  

Mo, the Registered Manager, suggested I join the panel. She knew that I had been looking at the possibility of people supported by the learning disability service also using the Shared Lives scheme during evenings and weekends. I have also had 35 plus years' experience of Shared Lives from a personal perspective as my mum is a carer and it was a normal part of my extended family life.


How does the panel work?

My role on the panel is to look at the applications from potential Shared Lives carers, share my views on the application with other panel members and to discuss the suitability and compatibility of them supporting people who are looking for Shared Lives care.   

When looking at the applicants I think it is important to get a feel for the person’s ‘all roundedness’; it is not about big qualifications and having a perfect house. We look at what the carer can offer the person they might be supporting and their overall compatibility. We look at their interests, why they want to be carers and how they feel they will make people comfortable and get enjoyment out of their time with people they might support.


Why do you think the panel is such an important part of Shared Lives?

The panel really is so important; everyone comes with different views and questions, so we can get a wider perspective of the application. We can discuss and ask questions in a safe space until we all agree whether the applicant is able to become a Shared Lives carer. People we support (like Verity) are also on the panel to help us focus on what sort of service the people who use the scheme are looking for.

I would like to think that my work on the panel has a positive impact on both the applicant and people we support; I am a fair person, non-judgemental and always strive to see the positives. I have a good appreciation of what a happy and full lifestyle can be with people who care and who support people to live their best life. This is the goal that I have in mind when I am looking at the application and I try to convey this to the other panel members.


What do you think makes Shared Lives so special for everyone involved in the scheme?

I feel that Shared Lives is special because people we support are matched up with a carer who suits their lifestyle, their interests, hobbies, even the pace of how they go about their daily living. Once they’re matched, people share their time together in more of a natural way because they are matched at the application stage.


Read more about becoming a carer and the application process here.


Want to know more about Bury Shared Lives? Click here.

Read more case studies from across Persona - just click here.

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