There is an old and a new service with the same name, and while I would have wholeheartedly recommended the old one, the new one might not suit your needs - and for people on the old one it's likely they would find themselves without care if the carer leaves as they are no longer recruiting carers for it. (Service users weren't warned about this change, some may still not know - until/unless their carer is leaving)
Here are the differences:
The old system worked like this: the carer would come to your house, or in other cases meet you somewhere, and you could use your time however you wanted.
For example: you might need supervision, company, and help in your home and the carer the service matched you with provided that. You might need help to attend a social event or to go swimming: the service provided that. Whatever disability someone had, they would be helped to do what they wanted or needed to do. You had the same one each time, or maybe 2 or 3 on different days of the week, but it was always the same people. I would have recommended the service to anyone, regardless of what their disability was or what activities they wanted to do.
OK the new system. This is commonly being called Day Care (officially "Shared Lives Plus", but the department's address is just Shared Lives still) I have pointed out that a day care is a childminder and that it is patronising (yet fitting for what the new service entails), in person with me they also called it "foster care for adults".
You are still matched with a carer/befriender who is the same person each time. The big difference is that you must get to the carer's home and base your time there "as part of their family environment".
This might well benefit some people, and hopefully it does, BUT:
Housebound? Tough. They won't make a reasonable adjustment and have the carer travel to you as before.
Uncomfortable with the idea of being there with their family around? Tough.
More comfortable in your own home with your own familiar things? Tough.
Not all service users are able to travel, for various reasons connected to disabilities; but ALL carers are able to travel, whether by car or bus.
I have pointed all this out to them and they will not budge. I have pointed out that I was struggling greatly with stress from being messed around trying to find an alternative and that housebound people (or people who need company to go out), those who have learning difficulties, mental health problems, Alzheimer's, or who are Autistic would be let down by this new system and that it is a crisis waiting to happen. The manager didn't even have an answer for my concerns.
The carer's home is the base but you can leave it to - to give an example they gave to me - go to buy baking ingredients then go back to their house to bake in their kitchen. You can't go to your house and bake in YOUR kitchen. You can go from their house to the cinema or swimming pool: the only place in Sheffield you cannot go is your OWN home!
There is no person-centered reason for this change as it excludes many who previously would've been supported under the old scheme. It only makes sense if people fall out of the system and therefore it saves the council money (I raised this point and it was not denied). It will be the most vulnerable who fall out of the system (I raised *this* point and it was not denied). It not being person-centered is further proven by the fact that for the *first time* in at least 5 years, if not ever, they will shut down from 25/12 to 01/01 inclusive. This is because it is a "non-essential service" according to the council; which is strange because if someone was due a visit on the 27th and that is the only in-person human contact they get or only support to go outside I would class that as pretty essential! (This also means the carers will lose this period of work as they are on zero hour contracts and got barely 3 weeks notice of it).