Gloucestershire: Combatting loneliness with new housing and support scheme

Featured article - 21 June 2021
By Jordan Davis, Director, Cloud Nine Support

Winnie and Maria

Having someone around the home to chat with and share the day has been shown to increase our overall happiness. During the Covid-19 pandemic care home nurse Maria, 75, has found her perfect flat mate in 70-year-old Winnie. The two moved into their new home in Gloucestershire as part of a new Home Share Scheme.

Winnie and Maria both love cooking together in the kitchen and watching TV together in the lounge. They each have a television in their bedrooms but they prefer to have each other’s presence around on a daily basis. The scheme provides a permanent solution to loneliness as it supports older people of similar ages and interests who would like to share a home of their own together.

The ladies didn’t know each other before sharing together and were introduced through a comprehensive matching process with safeguarding at the fore. They started as house mates and it’s now grown into a strong friendship which the ladies say they benefit from every day.

Benefits of the scheme

  • The Home Share Scheme enables older people to help each other by giving companionship and save money by sharing living costs
  • Each Home Share receives facilitating support which promotes independence and quality of life
  • There has been positive feedback and significant success with the first Home Sharers, with Office for National Statistics Health and Wellbeing Measurements showing an increase in wellbeing ranging from 38% to 186%
  • The scheme has been introduced in Gloucestershire with a planned expansion to neighbouring counties and then nationally.

It's about keeping independence, finding companionship and saving money. The simple idea aims to address the growing imbalance of time older people spend on their own and time with meaningful social connections. Since moving in together Winnie and Maria have reported a substantial increase in wellbeing and quality of life. Winnie says: “Maria makes a really good full English breakfast for me and when I come home from dialysis it’s so nice to smell the supper cooking as I walk through the door.” And Maria responds: “Winnie made me roast chicken and strawberry trifle and we sang and then watched TV until midnight!”

The scheme requires all legal, safeguarding and practical considerations for home sharing to be put in place, first time, for a safe and successful arrangement.

Both Winnie and Maria are originally from South Africa and trained as nurses. They share very similar values and experiences. They say they’re amazed at how similar their backgrounds and lives have been; and are so grateful to be matched together.

Contact

Cloud Nine would love to work with and hear from partner organisations in local government, housing provision and older adult support and share findings. For more information, please contact jordan@cloud9gb.co.uk or visit our website.

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