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Unique intergenerational home sharing project

With much in the news about the isolation of the elderly, Dean Raine of Homeshare Eden describes a unique and fascinating intergenerational project getting underway in Cumbria

Homeshare is a new scheme for Eden, Cumbria. It is operated by Age UK Carlisle and Eden, receiving funding from The Housing Action Charity (HACT). The scheme is part of HACT’s Age2Age initiative which supports intergenerational projects all over England.

The concept of Homeshare is simple; older and younger people sharing a home.

The idea is that an older person gives a room in their home to a younger person in exchange for help and support around their home.

The younger person (Homesharer) agrees to give up no more than 10 hours per week to help or support the older person. This help/support can come in many different forms. For example: housework, shopping, gardening, transport, cooking, DIY or simply companionship. In exchange for this they are offered a room in the older person’s house for minimal or no rent.

The older person (Householder) benefits from this arrangement in several ways, for example: gaining a companion who can help with tasks they find difficult, accessing services locally or the peace of mind which comes from knowing they have somebody to rely upon.

The younger person (Homesharer) benefits too. For example: they gain low cost or free accommodation. They find a place to stay near their place of work or study. They are given the chance to save money as well as gain independence. Ultimately they find a new friendship.

Homesharing offers different things to different people. Householders gain the choice to stay in their own home at a time of their lives when this may be becoming difficult. Homesharers gain an inexpensive (or free) housing solution. It’s mutually beneficial and nobody should lose out or gain financially.

Homeshare is monitored by the Homeshare Co-ordinator who finds homesharers and householders and matches them together. Successful matches are based upon rapport and common values. The Co-ordinator also acts as independent counsel – offering help and solutions to problems, should they arise.

Homeshare is very much a two way relationship; both people gain equally. The householder gets the help and support they need and the homesharer finds a place to call home.

To participate in the scheme both householder and homesharer must be CRB checked and references are required. This ensures that the scheme is as safe as it possibly can be.

There are no specific requirements to take part in Homeshare – just an open mind and a desire to help a person who is either older or younger than you.

Homeshare schemes have operated successfully all over the world and several schemes have already taken place in England. Homeshare Eden is unique as it operates over a large rural area in Cumbria.

We now have one share in place and it is going very well. The participants are incredibly happy with the arrangement and are due to be interviewed by The Guardian newspaper about their motivations for taking part in Homeshare.

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