A paper on bridging the gap between old and young has been launched today by United for All Ages. It sets out how segregated by age we have become as a society and the solutions which are already out there. It’s been covered in the national press:
Here’s my contribution:
For a long time, Homeshare has been a neat idea which has struggled to take off. The concept is simple and appealing: someone who needs a little help or companionship, and has a spare room, is matched with someone who can offer a little help and needs somewhere to live. Usually a carefully vetted younger person moves in with an isolated older person: they pay no rent, but split household bills and offer around ten hours a week of help. With Big Lottery and Lloyds Bank Foundation support, there are now 20 local Homeshare programmes and hundreds of shared households: finally Homeshare is growing. This is partly because attitudes to sharing housing are changing – look at the huge growth of AirBnB for instance – and partly because more cannot afford housing and loneliness in later life is growing. But the new schemes are also changing the tone: Homeshare is not just about helping isolated older people, it’s also a way for an older person to give a young person a start in adult life. One scheme is aimed specifically at young people who are struggling. In Homeshare, both benefit because both contribute: exactly the kind of unity we need between generations.