New scheme to tackle loneliness and housing shortage launched

Release Date: 01 March 2018

A new home share scheme that aims to tackle loneliness as well as a shortage of housing is being launched by Richmond and Wandsworth councils.

The scheme, popular in a number of other boroughs, aims to encourage elderly householders to offer accommodation to individuals, in exchange for companionship and support. 

Both councils are to work with Home Share UK (the UK network for Home Share schemes) to deliver the initiative. They will act as a ‘match maker’ across a range of Home Share providers – identifying isolated or lonely people and matching them with someone who can provide a nominal number of hours of support a week, in exchange for affordable accommodation.

The Home Sharer helps with daily living tasks such as; cleaning, shopping, gardening, overnight security and companionship.

Homesharing has a number of benefits. For the older resident, the arrangement offers support with everyday tasks, enabling them to stay independent in their own homes for longer. It also provides companionship, helping to combat loneliness and social isolation.

For the younger Homesharer it provides affordable housing at a time of housing shortages and rocketing rents. It also provides companionship and new relationships in a comfortable family home. Homeshare is also a great life experience and addition to a CV. The Councils will work in partnership with local employers and educational establishments. This includes working with HMP Wandsworth and St Mary’s College, promoting opportunities for both staff and students.

The programme is a safe and supported arrangement. Home Share UK carefully assess all applications and link applicants to the most suitable provider of Home Share brokerage, who will then take references, conduct enhanced DBS checks and have a thorough assessment and matching process to ensure risk and safeguarding issues are well managed.

Cllr David Marlow, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Health, said:

“Homeshare is an imaginative programme aimed at tackling the lack of affordable housing for younger adults as well as helping to overcome the huge loneliness problem experienced by many older people.

“We know how much people enjoy being able to stay in their own home – and the benefits that come with doing so. This scheme allows those participating to maintain their independence and dignity, while knowing help is always there should they need it.

“Homeshare brings new bed spaces into the housing market and provides a wonderful opportunity for creating friendships across the generations.

Wandsworth Social Care spokesman, Cllr Paul Ellis said:

“This is a common-sense approach that tackled two problems at once in a creative way.  Loneliness is a hidden problem in our communities, and as well as providing more homes, this scheme will provide companionship and bring different generations together.” 

Phil Ashford, Business Development manager from Homeshare UK, said:

“We are delighted to be working with residents in both Wandsworth and Richmond and be in partnership with the councils."

One of the organisations who will be benefiting from the scheme is St Mary’s University. Edward de Quay, responsible for Volunteering at the University, said:

“We are pleased to see Wandsworth and Richmond councils moving forward with their partnership with Homeshare UK, and hope that students will be attracted by this opportunity. We want our students to have a positive impact on the community and to show a generosity of spirit, something that Homeshare is a perfect fit for.”

For more information or to apply, visit the Home Share website.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P120/18

Updated: 29 March 2018