1. ITV Report

Meet the carers who are opening their own homes to people in need

One of the biggest challenges facing the NHS is the amount of social care needed by elderly or vulnerable adults - but one scheme has been quietly revolutionising the way social care is provided in the Midlands.

It's called Shared Lives, and means people who need help to live independently, are matched with individuals, or families, who'll look after them in their own homes.

What is Shared Lives?

In Shared Lives, an adult or young person who needs long term support is matched with a carefully approved Shared Lives carer, by their local scheme. Together, they share family and community life. People typically supported by Shared Lives include those with learning difficulties, care leavers, people with mental health issues and those requiring short term support after, for example, a hospital stay.

How does it work?

Half of the 14,000 people using Shared Lives move in with their chosen Shared Lives carer to live as part of their household. Half visit for day support or overnight breaks. People get safe, personal care and support, in a place which feels like home. They make friends and become more active.

Facts about the scheme:

* Shared Lives is officially the highest quality form of social care. This year The Care Quality Commission rated 96% of 150 schemes as GOOD or OUTSTANDING – the best ever rating.

* Shared Lives is on average £26,000 a year lower cost per person for people with learning disabilities and £8,000 lower for people with mental ill health.

* 97% of people supported by Shared Lives felt they were part of the family most or all of the time, 93% of people felt that their social life had improved and 94% felt more involved with their community

* 14,000 people are currently cared for via Shared Lives nationally

* There are more than 10,000 Shared Lives carers and 150 regulated local schemes