National backing for an adult fostering scheme has been welcomed in Northumberland.
NHS England has announced a £1.75million investment which will mean funding is being made available to help set up and develop the Shared Lives adult fostering model in other parts of the country.
Northumberland already has the scheme, which provides support in a family home for adults who are unable to live alone because of their age or disability.
It is delivered through a partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust which manages the service on behalf of Northumberland County Council.
Coun Susan Dungworth, cabinet member for adult care and public health, said: “People in Northumberland are already benefitting from our local adult fostering scheme, Shared Lives Northumberland. It is fantastic news that NHS England is making funding available nationally so that people in other parts of the country can benefit from schemes like ours.”
Wendy and Ron McPartland, from Guidepost, share their home with Neil, 50, and Ian, 59, from Shared Lives Northumberland.
Wendy said: “I think Shared Lives is amazing. As soon as I heard about it I wanted to get involved. To give people the chance to be part of a family makes them feel more wanted and loved, and I know I am making a difference.
“My aim is for Neil and Ian to feel like part of my family and they get on really well with my children and grandchildren.”
She added: “I also encourage them to have their own interests and help them with their independence. The first time Neil went to our local shops, he was buzzing when he came back. He had never done it before and he felt so proud that he could do it.”
Announcing the funding, which is being made available to Clinical Commissioning Groups, Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Whether helping someone with a learning disability to build a full life with a network of friends and family, or enabling an older person to recover from an operation in the peace and quiet of a familiar environment – people naturally value care and support in a loving family home. That’s why Shared Lives is an example of the kind of community and people-centred approach which needs to play a much bigger part in the NHS of the future.”
Anyone wanting further information about Shared Lives Northumberland or to find out about becoming a carer can call 01670 536400 or visit the Shared Lives Northumberland website at www.northumbria.nhs.uk/sharedlives