I joined the Homeshare UK team in November as Development and Delivery Officer and my role is to coordinate a pilot programme which will explore how the Homeshare model can be applied in a social housing context.  

Homeshare has a lot of flexibility in terms of who can participate but nearly all Householders own their own homes. This is mainly because people who rent their properties – either through private landlords or Housing Associations – would have to consider the impact of a Homesharer on their tenancy agreement or on any means tested benefit support they may receive. This means that Homeshare is not as inclusive as we want it to be.  

What the Clarion pilot aims to do inevitably is to make Homeshare accessible and available to all. I will act as an inhouse Homeshare Coordinator and with the help of Clarion Housing Group – the largest housing association in the Country – I aim to make eight strong matches. Supporting just a handful of Homeshare matches will enable me to work closely with the participants to explore in full what fears they might have about taking part, what barriers they might face and what benefits the Homeshare model can have for them.  

The Clarion Homeshare programme was conceptualised by Clarion55, the national network for Clarion’s older residents. The project was identified as an innovation that could tackle the increasing social isolation faced by residents, a challenge heightened by the implications of the pandemic.  

Richard, who sits on Clarion55 residents group says: “From the outset of Clarion 55 for me loneliness and isolation was the biggest challenge being faced by our older residents. I first heard of Homeshare at a conference and immediately felt this was an opportunity that could support our older residents. It was also an opportunity to bring younger and older generations together for mutual support.” 

The pilot will measure the impact of Homeshare on residents physical and mental health alongside the demand for housing support. By measuring these impacts across the one year pilot we hope to be able to prove the need for an ongoing programme that is embedded in Clarion’s Housing offer. The longer-term aim of the programme is to set up a cross-sector knowledge exchange around how Homesharing can be offered by all housing associations across the UK.  

The Homeshare team have already briefed Clarion frontline workers during a virtual lunch and learn training session and I am currently working behind the scenes ensuring the Homeshare policies and procedures are suitable and ready for when we get our first participants. Clarion meanwhile are promoting the scheme to generate interest from potential Householders; during their Winter Wellbeing calls to residents they will mention the pilot scheme to residents and we are hoping to start a targeted campaign soon, calling Clarion residents aged 65 years and over who have properties with spare rooms to see if they would be interested in taking part in the pilot.  

We have also been publicising the programme through other opportunities. I was invited to deliver a presentation at the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN)Summit – watch the ‘Intergenerational Housing: Building blocks for all ages’ session here 

Anyone interested in taking part in the Homeshare pilot being delivered by Clarion or who wants more information can get in touch with me using the following details: 

Kayleigh Harris, Homeshare Delivery and Development Officer
kayleigh@sharedlivesplus.org.uk | 07788 253 816