This week, the second Homeshare service in Wales is starting; Pembrokeshire Homeshare will match people living alone who require a little extra help to continue living independently at home, with those seeking affordable accommodation in and around Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The programme aims to tackle key issues in society such as loneliness and isolation as well as the housing crisis. In Pembrokeshire 26.17% of the population are over the age of 65 (Welsh Government Stats 2020) and across Wales, 54% of people aged 60-74 and 49% of people 75+ years, said they felt lonely sometimes (ONS). Younger people are being priced out of the villages, towns, and cities they want to live in, for work or study. Latest figures again show that the average age at which people can leave home even to rent is rising along with the proportion of income spent on housing. Many people in mid and later life are also finding themselves without affordable housing options after the impact of the pandemic.
Homeshare UK and Pembrokeshire Homeshare, part of Pembrokeshire Care Society are launching the second Welsh pilot programme to offer more people the opportunity to live sociably and affordably whatever their age.
Dean Flood from Pembrokeshire Care Society says:
“Throughout my working life I’ve engaged with older people who have so much to give and who provide great service to their communities. They are independent, sociable and non-reliant on social care services. Sadly, many struggle because they’re on their own. Their lives however could improve so much, just by having that bit of support and companionship that everyone needs and deserves.”
This spring, the first Homeshare service in Wales is starting, bringing cheer by matching older people living alone with those seeking affordable accommodation in and around Swansea, Wales.
The news comes as the true scale of loneliness in the UK is becoming understood. Older people in Wales want to stay living at home for longer. In Wales, 54% of people aged 60-74 and 49% of people 75+ years, said they felt lonely sometimes (ONS).
Homeshare UK and Shared Homes Swansea, part of Swansea Council for Voluntary Service, are launching the first Welsh pilot programme to offer more people the opportunity to live sociably and affordably whatever their age, with the right support structures in place to make it safe and enjoyable.
Homeshare works by matching people together for mutual support; a person who has a spare room and is looking for company and a bit of practical support, shares their home with someone looking for affordable accommodation. Roxane Dacey from SCVS says:
“Homeshare is a way of bringing the two groups together to solve each other’s needs by using their respective strengths, promoting stronger communities and providing mutual support. Shared Homes Swansea along with support from Homeshare UK aim to support 26 matches in the first 2 years.”
Dave Howes, Director of Social Services, Swansea Council said:
‘We’re delighted to see the Shared Homes Swansea programme launching through our partners SCVS. Independence in older age is so important to people’s quality of life, and this project, which can reduce loneliness, provide low level support to enable people to stay in their own homes for longer, and offer affordable accommodation, is very timely and welcome.”
I am just over two months into my Homeshare Wales Development Officer role and I am absolutely loving the opportunity to bring this fantastic program into Wales. The Welsh Government has funded us for three years to develop three Homeshare pilots throughout Wales, which is incredibly exciting.
We are still conducting feasibility work alongside raising awareness of Homeshare with individuals and organisations. We have had a fantastic response from our Homesharer surveys. So far 97% of respondents said they would sign up to a Homeshare programme if there was one in their area. Also, whilst having reduced rent was seen as the top benefit of Homeshare, it was very closely followed by maybe making a new friend, which reinforces the intergenerational approach of the model and the willingness of the younger generation to make lasting friendships with older people.
The response from organisations working with older people has revealed that:
- 100% of respondents said that they encounter older people living alone who have low level support needs
- 100% agreed that the demand for low-level support services for older people grown in the last 5 years
- 57% said that it has increased significantly
- 100% also said that there was evidence of growing isolation among older people living on their own in their areas of work.
We have been meeting with organisations and delivering presentations in order to raise awareness of Homeshare. Whilst we have not yet confirmed where the three pilots will be, we have had some very positive meetings with several organisations showing interest in delivering Homeshare programs. Of course, it’s very early days, with much to be explored but the response has been very encouraging with people grasping the model and its innovative response to isolation and the affordability of accommodation.
If you haven’t completed one of our surveys and would like to then please follow these links:
Householder/Older person survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/29M5JYG
Organisational survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WalesOrgSurvey
Please get in touch if you would like to hear more about Homeshare and its development in Wales.
firstname.lastname@example.org 07867 452 159
Following on from our recent news about developing Homeshare in Scotland, we are thrilled to announce that, funded by the Welsh government over the next three years we plan to bring Homeshare to Wales too!
Homeshare enriches the lives of both the Householder and the Homesharer, building links across generations and connecting people with their local communities. It’s a model of support and Housing that is growing in popularity in the rest of the UK.
Having a dedicated local provision will make Homeshare available to so many more people across the UK and we welcome the support from the Welsh government in recognising the benefits that Homeshare could bring to people across generations in Wales.
By March 2024 we aim to establish three Homeshare pilot programmes across the country, enabling older people to stay in their own homes for longer, allowing younger people to have access to good quality accommodation, and reduce isolation and loneliness by bringing together people who want to share their lives and homes.
Working with the Welsh Government and underpinned by the Connected Communities Policy our dedicated Homeshare Development Officer will:
- Work with groups of older and young people and partners from the Voluntary and Community sector to develop feasibility studies and identify pilot sites in Wales.
- Support the set up and development of three pilot programmes.
- Create a thriving Homeshare community across the country.
If you would like to hear more about our development plans for Wales, please contact:
Kathryn Morgan, Wales Homeshare and Shared Lives Development Manager on 07867 452 158 or email@example.com