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  1. ITV Report

Shared Lives: How you can help

Could it be the future of social care - caring for vulnerable people in your own home?

Heather Samuels has done just that at her home in Manchester. She's part of a nationwide scheme called Shared Lives, which supporters say is improving the lives of people with complex needs.

In Shared Lives, an adult or young person who needs long term support is matched with an approved Shared Lives carer.

Happy families: Shared Lives in action at Heather's house Credit: Granada Reports

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.

Shared Lives carers typically earn £400 - 500 per week (£21,000 – 26,000/year) if someone lives with them, which covers rent, bills and food too.

Helping Hands means Gillian has a safe and loving home Credit: Granada Reports

More information on Shared Lives is available here.