Start a rewarding career as an Essex Shared Lives Host

By sharing your home, you could shape the life of someone who needs support in Essex. Earn between £385 to £532 a week with tax relief, training, paid holiday, and continuous support.

Apply to be an Essex Shared Lives host

What is Shared Lives?

Shared Lives is an innovative scheme, providing a community-driven alternative to supported living or residential care. Provided by the council, we join other counties who are part of this nationwide scheme.

Shared Lives supports adults with a wide range of care and support needs, matching them to assessed and trained Shared Lives hosts. The hosts provide accommodation and support or regular stays or visits, facilitating a life-changing move towards independence.

Shared Lives hosts help people who want to live independently in their community and gain the skills and confidence to thrive.

Across the UK, over 10,000 Shared Lives hosts make a difference to someone’s life each day.

“It is an amazing opportunity to work for Essex Shared Lives. It’s a very lovely and rewarding job to work with young adults with special needs... they bring so much happiness to the family" - Lynnette, Essex Shared Lives host in Harlow.

Nicole and Kelton are Shared Lives hosts and helps Kimberley lead a healthy, active, and independent life. Watch their story.

The rewards and benefits of being an Shared Lives host

Being a Shared Lives host is more than a job. It’s a rewarding career and a unique opportunity to change someone’s life for the better.

As a Shared Lives host, you will enjoy:

  • a steady income of between £385 to £532 per week, depending on the level of support required by the individual and how long they stay with you (this includes Food and Utilities fee)
  • working in the comfort of your own home and in the local Essex community
  • complete flexibility, with a role that can work around existing family and home-based business commitments
  • generous tax allowances and be registered as self-employed with HMRC
  • a break to rest and recharge with paid holiday time, anytime you like. Choose to spend time with the person you support or take some respite away
  • continuous support and guidance from our dedicated Essex Shared Lives team
  • your own enhanced membership of Shared Lives Plus. Extensive benefits include public liability insurance, professional advice, access to a network of Shared Lives professionals, national meetings, and discounts on retail shops and everyday shopping

“The support I get from the Essex Shared Lives team; we’re always on phones, we can email each other, they come to us, we can go to them. Any questions that we need, they are always there, and they are always on call for us.” – Lynette, Essex Shared Lives host in Harlow.

Lynnette is an Shared Lives host and helps Emma lead a healthy, active, and independent life, along with her daughter Tonilee. Watch their story.

What does being an Shared Lives host involve?

As every individual is unique, so are the experiences of the hosts.

Responsibilities can vary from:

  • long term support and accommodation, where the person moves in with the host for as many months or years as appropriate
  • short breaks to give family hosts respite from their supporting responsibilities

As an Shared Lives Host, you will receive detailed training. Mandatory training includes medication administration and safeguarding. You can also undertake optional training in covering mental capacity, health passport training, person centred planning, budgeting skills, letting go, moving on and more.

Our dedicated Shared Lives team will provide you with continuous support and guidance. Support provided includes monitoring visits every three months, additional support visits, and ongoing telephone support.

Read our detailed guide to learn more about how the Shared Lives Scheme works (PDF, 696.49kB).

Could I be an Shared Lives Host?

If you have the space in your home and heart to share your life, you could be an ideal candidate. To become a Shared Lives host, all we ask is that you have:

  • a suitable spare bedroom at home
  • a willingness to support adults with care and support needs, such as learning disabilities or autism
  • be comfortable using the internet, email, and Microsoft Office

“If you have the time to spare, and you need to fulfil your life by caring and helping someone else improve their life, is very much the thing to do. For myself, it’s filled a very big void” – Anne, Essex Shared Lives host.

Ann is a Shared Lives host and helps Billie-Jean lead a healthy, active, and independent life. Watch their story.


How do l apply?

Please, complete the Expression of Interest and a member of the Shared Lives team will be in touch within 7 days with the next steps.

Apply to be an Essex Shared Lives host

What happens next?

If your application is successful, you will be guided through:

  1. an initial meeting
  2. an assessment, where you will need to provide an enhanced DBS checks and references (we will fund enhanced DBS checks for successful applicants)
  3. training
  4. matching

Then you are ready to start being a Shared Lives host!

Contact us

If you have any questions that are not covered by the content on this page or in our Essex Shared Lives introduction guide (PDF, 696.49kB), contact us by:

We are available Monday to Thursday between 9am to 5pm, and on Fridays between 9am to 4:30pm