Homeshare UK is bringing the popular international idea of mixed generation households to the UK – and the latest report published today, shows after a decade of growth, it’s reaching more people thanks to investment from charities and local councils.
The Homeshare idea is that by bringing the generations together, an older person offers a spare room to someone who needs an affordable place to live, in return for company and help around the home. They discover shared interests, reconnect with their community and share skills, helping to reduce loneliness, give young people a start in life to make Britain a country for all ages. It’s safe and well managed: a network of Homeshare providers match people together, provide back up, safety checks and make sure people are compatible, before the sharer moves in.
The latest report published today shows a 22% growth in the number of Homeshare matches over the past 12 months – more than 1,000 people have benefited from Homeshare in the UK and ROI in 2019. But unlike other countries, most older people in a Homeshare match in the UK are over 80 years old. We are calling out to all people of any age who have a comfortable spare room and would benefit from company and some help to remain living at home safely for longer, plan now to avoid reaching the point of crisis.
With changing attitudes, families living further away from each other, the high cost of living especially in some of our key cities and the rising age of first time buyers , Homeshare is increasingly being seen as an option for students of all ages, low paid workers and savers. It’s a safe, affordable and sociable way to live.
Holly, 21, is studying music at the Arts University and homesharers with Margaret, 99, through the city council’s scheme in Leeds.
Holly says: “The best thing is forming a friendship with someone who I wouldn’t typically interact with in a student lifestyle. Margaret is very friendly and has lived an interesting life, so she’s great to talk to! I like our scrabble evenings.”
Margaret says, “Holly is a very kind, caring young woman and she sometimes treats me to a Walnut Whip. She is a vegan, I’ve tried her vegan cake and I love it! I get on well with younger people and I didn’t want to live on my own, I have a lot of life experiences and knowledge to give back to a sharer. I’ve talked to Holly about all my adventures including driving in Europe and getting stopped by the Russian border police. I even let her win at scrabble sometimes!”
Alex Fox, Homeshare UK CEO says, “Our message to older people is no longer that Homeshare will only help you if you are lonely, it is that it will give you an opportunity to give a young person a start in life.”
“We’re calling on national and local governments to change legislation and policy so that social housing, benefits and council tax are set up to promote new and proven ways of tackling struggles that people are facing today. There are so many people enjoying it abroad, we want more people in the UK to benefit from it.”
Last year, the UK partnered with Homeshare International, the global partnership of organisations involved in Homeshare. In 2021, the biennial Homeshare World Congress will come to Liverpool with support from the city at the iconic St George’s Hall.
Notes to editors
- Homeshare UK is the network for all Homeshare providers in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We have recently partnered with Homeshare International, bringing the option to the UK.
- There are currently over 20 schemes around the UK, with 500 pairs of people involved over the course of 2019 a growth of 22% over the last year.
- Homeshare has proven to be a popular model across the US and Europe with schemes successfully operating in 18 countries worldwide.
- Homeshare UK supports, guides and is the national voice for Homeshare programmes.
- Our quality standards ensure Homeshare UK network members self-regulate and continuously improve their practices so that they are safe and effective.
- Homeshare UK is part of Shared Lives Plus – The national network for shared living
For interviews or more information, contact Phoebe Rowell, communications manager, [email protected], 07392 313 500.