A call is going out for people to join a house sharing scheme which brings young and older people together. By helping older people stay independent in their home for longer and offering accommodation to young people Leeds City Council’s Homeshare scheme matches someone younger looking for an affordable place to live with someone older who has a spare room and who would benefit from help or companionship at home.
Launched in Leeds in 2016, people who joined the scheme in the city are now seeing the benefits.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults said:
“Research from the Centre for Ageing Better confirms that home is where most people want to be, with 80% of homeowners aged 65 and over wishing to stay where they are. The Homeshare scheme offers an innovative way of doing this – bringing old and young together in a way which benefits both.
“We welcome applications from people interested in the scheme - especially householders - so if you are a person with a spare room, or a young person looking for somewhere to live, please consider Homeshare. It might be right up your street!”
Jon Keating and Margaret Marshall, who have a 71 year age gap between them, were matched thanks to the scheme and now enjoy sharing accommodation with each other. They live in a large house in Roundhay and epitomise how Homeshare benefits sharers by bringing different generations together.
Margaret, 98, is a very dynamic lady, she is well known in the area thanks to the big parties her sons used to have in their large cellar. She was given her first car by her Dad when she was 18, when it was unusual for women to drive. She drove ambulances during the war and her husband never learned to drive as he said she was his chauffeur. After delivering meals on wheels for the WRVS for 25 years, she only stopped when she was 70, she was presented with a medal for volunteering by the Queen Mother at St James Palace.
Margaret said she was attracted to the Leeds Homeshare scheme because:
“I was living on my own and didn’t like being alone in the house overnight. So having Jon in the house has helped me feel safe. I’m a very tidy person and I like everything to be put back in its right place. I’m pleased that Jon is a tidy person too.”
Margaret says she enjoys having a Homesharer because: ’Jon changes lightbulbs and sorted out the burglar alarm went it went off and helped me when the electricity stopped working.’
Margaret says ‘a happy time we’ve shared together is when we played Scrabble and I beat him.’
Jon, 27, had many reasons to sign up for the scheme. These included coming from a low income background and the lower Homeshare fee is a lot more affordable than student rent. He’s very much a people person and loves hearing about others’ stories and experiences.
Jon is a music student at Leeds Arts University specialising in vocals. He wanted more experience interacting with older people as he is looking to go into music therapy as a career. He’d lived in student accommodation he found very expensive and really small ‘like a cell’ on a corridor with other students who didn’t speak to him.
Jon said: “I have been lucky to be matched with Margaret who is a great housemate. In my last student accommodation I felt very isolated and my flat mates were very untidy, the kitchen was a mess all the time and I didn’t like cooking in there. It’s so much better living at Margaret’s. She’s a very caring person, I enjoy her company and like spending time with her.”
“I have a good relationship with Margaret, this is positive as recently I had tonsillitis and she was concerned and kept telling me to go to the Doctor. Margaret is used to having young people around as her grandchildren visit regularly living at Margaret’s is like being back at home, a lovely, comfortable family home.”
Homeshare works by carefully matching up an older person (householder) with a younger (home sharer) who needs a temporary home. Time is spent matching people and this is crucial to the success of Homeshare.
The home sharer isn’t involved in providing personal care, but agrees to provide around 10 hours a week support in exchange for a room. Help can be many different things, from shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog to looking after the garden or just having someone to watch the telly with and by giving the older person the reassurance of knowing there’s someone else in the house during the night.
Homeshare is a safe and supportive service. DBS, reference and credit checks are completed and support is provided during the arrangement. Home owners and sharers will contribute an affordable monthly fee to cover the running costs of the scheme and sharers also contribute towards the home utility bills.
To find out more people visit: www.leeds.gov.ukhomeshare or call 0113 37 85410 for a chat or email: firstname.lastname@example.org