THIS Summer, the second Homeshare service in Wales is starting, bringing cheer by matching older people living alone with those seeking affordable accommodation in and around Pembrokeshire, 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). In Pembrokeshire 26.17% of the population are over the age of 65 (Welsh Government Stats 2020).
The service, called 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. Both people benefit from the companionship and having a friendly face at home. The householder typically receives 10 hours per week of practical support provided by the Homesharer such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening or even enjoying social activities together, but no personal care is involved.
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.
In Pembrokeshire, the programme will be called ‘Pembrokeshire Homeshare’. 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, with the right support structures in place to make it safe and enjoyable.
Pembrokeshire Homeshare was set up by the Pembrokeshire Care Society who have been supporting the people of Pembrokeshire with homelessness and tenancy issues since 1979.
Dean Flood from the Pembrokeshire Care Society will act as the Homeshare lead in Pembrokeshire. Dean has lived and worked in Pembrokeshire most of his life. He has led three primary schools as Headteacher and has been supporting adults and their families with tenancy support over the past year. Dean 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.
“I’ve also been fortunate to work with many young people and adults – moving on into the working world with ambition and hopes to play a positive role in society. We know of the huge challenges they encounter in finding suitable, comfortable accommodation that is affordable. Increasing rental costs provide a barrier for them to move on or indeed leave their family home.
“Homeshare is a way of bringing the two groups together to solve each other’s needs by using their respective strengths and providing mutual support. It breaks down the financial barriers but most importantly it is about investing in people, to enhance their lives and promote community cohesion”.
The Homeshare match is facilitated, supported and closely monitored by Pembrokeshire Care Society (Pembrokeshire Homeshare), who have a long history of working with individuals and the community. As a member of Homeshare UK, they will draw on established national good practice guidance from Homeshare UK to ensure safety and quality.
Pembrokeshire Homeshare along with support from Homeshare UK aim to support 20 matches in the first 2 years.
If you’re interested in Homeshare and live within Pembrokeshire, contact Dean Flood, [email protected] 07483 917951 or visit https://homeshare.pembrokeshirecaresociety.co.uk/ to find out more.