A BLACK Country charity is developing a new ‘adult foster care’ scheme across Dudley and is hoping recruit borough residents over the coming months.

Camphill Village Trust (CVT), which is based in Stourbridge, is setting up a shared lives scheme which involves people being paid to care for adults who may be vulnerable or have a disability.

Carers are matched to support the person from their own home where they will help develop their skills so they can lead an ‘ordinary independent life’.

Dean Barnshaw, shared lives manager at CVT, who has 11 years’ experience of developing the scheme in Lincolnshire, said: “Although this is a new direction for CVT, there is a real synergy with this model of care and the charity’s philosophy, in relation to building community and encouraging everybody to become active citizens, regardless of ability.

“Currently, there are about 13,500 people being supported by 8,500 carers across the UK and the Government wish to expand shared lives significantly over the coming years.

“Not only is it cost effective in comparison to hospital or residential care, with average savings of £26,000 per person, shared lives also provides better outcomes for people when they remain in a homely environment, in terms of mental and physical wellbeing.

“We really hope to encourage more households to become involved, as it truly enriches the lives of everyone involved. It’s such a rewarding role.”

The training and assessment process takes about three months to complete and once approved by an independent panel, the charity will provide on-going support to ensure a high quality of care is maintained.

Ninette Cooper, aged 57, from Oldswinford, has already signed up for the scheme. She said: “I’d never considered welcoming someone into my home, but becoming a shared lives carer seemed such a unique role, I just had to find out more.

“My personal circumstances have recently changed and my last child has now left home, so I’ve been giving some thought as to what to do next, as I didn’t just want to sit back and let things happen.

“I have been very lucky in my life and felt I needed to give something back to the community.

“The assessment process has been really interesting, it’s given me a new-found confidence to go out and try new things and I would encourage anyone to contact CVT to find out more about joining the scheme.”

Carers, who must be over the age of 18 and have a spare bedroom, will be paid between £400 and £600 per week depending on the level of support they provide, as well as receive significant tax breaks.

For more information about becoming a shared lives carer, visit CVT’s information event on Wednesday, June 21, from 7pm at 4 Norton Road, Stourbridge. Alternatively, visit www.cvt.org.uk/sharedlives, or contact Dean Barnshaw by calling 07984 896010 or emailing dean.barnshaw@cvt.org.uk.