ITV News is looking at how communities are coming together to improve people's lives.
In our series, Help on Hand, we meet the carers who take adults in need of support into their homes and their families to live with them.
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 here in the Tyne Tees region.
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.
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.
Julia Barthram has been to meet the hidden carers who help those in need...
- Watch the full report here: