Update: the Homeshare Pilot Programme ran for three years until 31 March 2018. Many of the schemes within it, however, continue to deliver Homeshare across the UK. More information about these and the wider Homeshare UK network is available below.
What was Homeshare Partnership Programme?
The Homeshare Partnership Programme ran for three years until March 2018. The programme was funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund for England and Wales working in partnership with Age UK, Shared Lives Plus, Foyer Federation, Social Care Institute for Excellence and Traverse (formally OPM) to establish best practice for delivering Homeshare in the UK.
The Homeshare Partnership Programme supported the growth and development of Homeshare models delivered by eight schemes in the UK and the development of Homeshare UK, a national network in partnership with Shared Lives Plus.
What is Homeshare?
A Homeshare is when an older person with a spare room is matched with a person who is in need of low-cost accommodation, in return for up to ten hours of household tasks or company per week.
The tasks that the homesharer carries out in return for reduced rent are agreed during the initial matching process. These tasks will depend on the want and ability of both parties and will be unique to their match, for example, shopping, cooking gardening. Homeshare is not a personal care service.
All aspects of matching, vetting, supporting, monitoring and ending the Homeshare are managed by expert staff from one of the local delivery schemes.
Homeshare is successful all over the world, with schemes running in the USA, Europe and Australia.
Partnership organisations and local schemes worked together to stimulate the growth of Homeshare in parts of the UK. By the end of the programme in March 2018 the schemes had made a total of 28 successful matches, developed a Quality Assurance Framework and established an improved referral route via the Homeshare UK website.
The evaluation of the programme delivered a number of key learning points for the growth and development of new and existing Homeshare schemes. The evaluation report can be found on the Homeshare website.
Florence, 95 and Alexandra, 27 are homesharers living in South London.
Florence said: 'Sharing your home is a marvellous idea. Loneliness is horrible. You can get bored to tears being by yourself. Having someone else in the home makes a big difference. You don't have to worry about falling over or hurting yourself. Some people might feel a bit concerned about having a younger person living in their home, but Alexandra is lovely. I would call her a close friend. We talk about everything, just as I would with my other friends.'
Alexandra said: 'People sometimes look slightly strangely at you when you first explain you live with someone who is 95 and not a relative, but it's like being with an old family friend. It gives me somewhere really homely to come back to in the evening, which is great. Rent in London is also really high but living with Flo makes being here more affordable.'
Where to go next
Age UK’s part in the Homeshare Partnership Programme ended in March 2018 as planned. This programme scheme was an excellent opportunity for us to explore how Homeshare could benefit older people, by providing support around the house and companionship.
Support for Homeshare
This pilot was supported by the expertise and knowledge of the partnership board. The partnership board’s members include Big Lottery Fund, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Shared Lives Plus, Foyer Federation, Social Care Institute for Exellence, OPM and Age UK to establish best practice for delivering Homeshare in the UK.