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£20 Million Boost for Adult Social Care and Unpaid Carers

£20 million invested in innovative projects supporting people in adult social care and unpaid carers across the country


  • Funding will expand projects such as community shared-living arrangements where carers support people in their own homes.

  • Builds on government’s long-term support for adult social care with £8.6 billion additional funding invested in adult social care over this financial year and next, and £327 million to support carers through the Better Care Fund


People in adult social care and unpaid carers will benefit from a £20 million boost to fund innovative projects across the country, as the government continues to deliver on its vision for social care reform.


The Accelerating Reform Fund will expand community-based care models such as Shared Lives, a service that matches people aged 16 and above with approved carers.


Under this scheme, people move in with their Shared Lives carer on a short- or long-term basis, giving people with care needs more freedom and autonomy and allowing them to live more independently in the community. Short-term care through Shared Lives also supports unpaid carers by providing them with more flexibility and breaks.


This week, Minister Whately visited a Shared Lives home in Oxfordshire. There, the minister met and spoke with the Shared Lives carer and the three people who live with them in the home on a short- and long-term basis. Minister Whately heard how Shared Lives is providing newfound freedom, security and comfort.


Minister for Social Care Helen Whately said:

We’re sticking to our plan to deliver ambitious social care reforms that will ensure everyone gets the care they need and help even more people to live independently. Alongside our workforce reforms, we’re supporting the sector by backing innovations which will make our care system fit for the future and provide vital support to our selfless unpaid carers. I’ve seen first-hand how Shared Lives helps people who need care, and I’m delighted this funding will scale up support and make an even bigger difference for more people across the country.

The funding will also develop innovations and digital tools focused on identifying and supporting unpaid carers. For example:


  • Local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire will expand a digital carers self-help tool to equip carers with the ability to identify local support and access bespoke information to support their own well-being.

  • Local authorities in West Yorkshire will use the funding to connect hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses with unpaid carers so they can donate holidays and experiences to carers to recognise their invaluable contribution to society.

  • In Southwest London, the funding will scale up approaches for identifying unpaid carers, such as through hospital discharge programmes and referring them to carers networks.


The Accelerating Reform Fund provides a total of £42.6 million over 2023/24 and 2024/25 to support innovation and initiatives in adult social care services across the country, focused on developing and scaling sustainable and effective types of support for people with care needs.


£20 million is being allocated to lead local authorities, covering all 42 Integrated Care Systems, which deliver adult social care services and will work with a range of partners including the NHS, care providers, voluntary and community groups. £20 million is the first tranche of funding for 2023/24. The second tranche of the Accelerating Reform Fund, £22.6 million, will be allocated in 2024/25.


Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Social Care Institute of Excellence, said: 

We’re excited about the opportunities offered by the Accelerating Reform Fund, which is uniquely focused on innovation in social care. Whether digital innovation or new ways to deliver support, local people who draw on care and the millions of amazing unpaid carers delivering care around the clock stand to benefit significantly from the Fund. It’s great to see the range of projects now emerging from local authorities working in partnership all over the country. We’re determined to support local leaders to find ways to overcome obstacles to innovation to improve lives.

Kirsty McHugh, Carers Trust CEO, said:

Carers Trust is pleased to have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care on the Accelerating Reform Fund. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will make to unpaid carers. “We will continue to work with DHSC to ensure the ARF has a lasting and sustained positive impact on the ground both for local carer services and the carers they support.
We know that many of the local carer organisations in our Network are closely involved with or delivering these funded projects via their specialist support offer. We welcome the ARF’s ambition to be one part of the wider transformation of social care that is needed to ensure unpaid carers get the support they need.

Ewan King, Chief Executive Officer of Shared Lives Plus, the UK membership charity for Shared Lives and Homeshare, said:

We are delighted that, thanks to DHSC funding, more people who draw on social care need will have the opportunity to experience the life-changing experience of living or regularly visiting a loving home, in their local community. The innovative beauty of Shared Lives and Homeshare is that people choose to visit or live with each other, based on personal interests, lifestyle, as well as their support or care needs which can range from older age, learning disability, to mental ill health, dementia, carer’s respite, young people leaving care, or those who need an interim home after being discharged from hospital. We also expect the cost savings to benefit local areas in the long-term, as well as strengthen communities with the wrap around support which makes relational-based services like these so powerful.”  

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said:

With a rise in the number of unpaid carers, and an increase in the number of hours spent caring, we’re pleased to see the roll out of the Accelerating Reform Fund. This investment is urgently required for unpaid carers who are incredibly stretched, and in need of further support to better manage their personal health and wellbeing, finances, and to juggle work and caring responsibilities. It is positive to see the appetite for innovative projects recognising the unique pressures and challenges carers face, as well the value of unpaid care to the economy. We hope that Government is able to continue to support successful projects locally to ensure that unpaid carers can continue to benefit from effective models of support.

Andy Biddle, Director of Adult Social Care, Portsmouth City Council

We know that Shared Lives arrangements have the potential for person centred care and support and a settled environment for our residents. Through being part of a family and community, they can support people’s good mental health and wellbeing. Being able to meet people’s needs, maintain local relationships and support our Shared Lives carers in providing this person-centred care is a great opportunity and one which we are happy to grow and invest in.” 

The Accelerating Reform Fund supports the government’s 10-year vision for adult social care, which focuses on three objectives:


  • People have choice, control and support to live independent lives;

  • People can receive outstanding quality and tailored care and support;

  • People find adult social care fair and accessible.


The government has now made available up to £8.6 billion additional funding over this financial year and next to support adult social care and discharge. This includes up to £3.2 billion of additional funding over 2023/24 and £5.4 billion of additional funding in 2024/25.


The government has also earmarked £327 million for the Better Care Fund which empowers local authorities to provide advice support, short-breaks and respite services for unpaid carers.

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