A NEW, exciting, and innovative scheme to support vulnerable people cost-effectively is to be introduced in Thurrock.
Shared Lives is expected to support around 75 people over the coming five years, and save the tax-payer around Â£4 million at the same time.
Cllr Barbara Rice, Thurrock’s portfolio holder for adult social care and health described Shared Lives as "one of the most exciting" schemes, saying: "I believe it can really change people quality of life for the better."
She explained: "This scheme essentially is an adult fostering scheme. It enables people who would otherwise have been living in an institution to live in a family home with care and support given by the householders.
"Shared Lives gives options for a wide range of people, including people with learning disabilities, older people, care leavers, young disabled adults, and people with mental health needs.
"By establishing a shared lives scheme in Thurrock we can better support individuals giving them more choice and options, in a cost effective manner."
Cllr Rice said the scheme would be set up by an organisation called the Shared Lives Incubator which is "already working with councils in London and Manchester" and which will support Thurrock in selecting a service provider.
She said: "The estimate of long-term referrals in Thurrock over the next five years is approximately 75 which is expected to achieve a saving of at least Â£4 million.
"This scheme is both an excellent alternative for people requiring a care placement that can be rewarding for all parties, and an innovative sound financial initiative in these cash-strapped times.