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Press Release

15th May 2018

Homeshare Offers Solutions to Loneliness and Youth Housing Crisis,

Reveals New Evaluation Report


Research published today by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Big Lottery Fund reveals the positive impact of intergenerational homesharing on reducing loneliness and isolation, improving wellbeing and addressing the lack of affordable housing options for younger people.

The evaluation, conducted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Traverse, finds that the Homeshare model:

  • reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing by offering companionship and facilitating inter-generational relationships
  • provides affordable housing for younger people who are often priced out of home ownership and even renting

The Homeshare model brings together older people with a spare room with younger people seeking affordable housing or an alternative to a traditional house share. In return for the accommodation the younger person – “homesharer” - provides up to 10 hours of support around the house as well as more informally being around for a chat. All Homeshare schemes carefully vet, match and oversee each unique Homeshare arrangement. Participants pay moderate fees to cover the administrative costs of the Homeshare scheme including matching services, safeguarding and monitoring visits, while homesharers also contribute to household costs and bills.

Today’s report draws on evidence from a £2 million Homeshare Partnership Programme, funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Big Lottery Fund, using money raised by National Lottery players. The programme was set up in 2015 to grow and develop the model and has funded eight pilot Homeshare schemes across the UK as well as the development of a national network in partnership with Shared Lives Plus. Other partners to the programme included Age UK and the Foyer Federation.

Today’s evaluation was based on reviewing a range of evidence and capturing the experiences of staff at eight schemes and from 28 matches across the 2 years of the Programme. The evaluators found that Homeshare improved wellbeing for participants, offered companionship, made affordable housing available, and facilitated inter-generational relationships. A typical relationship involved participants sharing joint activities, genuine companionship and a mutual sharing of home life, time, skills and experience – as this case study highlights:


Case study

Florence, 95 and Alexandra, 27 are homesharers living in South London.

Florence said: Sharing your home is a marvellous idea. Loneliness is horrible. You can get bored to tears being by yourself. Having someone else in the home makes a big difference. You don't have to worry about falling over or hurting yourself. Some people might feel a bit concerned about having a younger person living in their home, but Alexandra is lovely. I would call her a close friend. We talk about everything, just as I would with my other friends.”

Alexandra said:People sometimes look slightly strangely at you when you first explain you live with someone who is 95 and not a relative, but it's like being with an old family friend. It gives me somewhere really homely to come back to in the evening, which is great. Rent in London is also really high but living with Flo makes being here more affordable.”


Taking Homeshare forward


The report recognised that there were challenges experienced by Homeshare participants including: becoming accustomed to sharing space, the escalation of a householder’s care needs, when support needs to be provided, and navigating resolution of conflict between matches - but also how an effective Homeshare scheme manages and mitigates those issues.

Ongoing support will be delivered by Homeshare UK, part of Shared Lives Plus, to support local areas with setting up new schemes and spread best practice to develop existing schemes. The website www.homeshareuk.org helps people find a scheme to see if Homeshare might be right for them or a family member. Shared Lives Plus will also manage a best practice guide, development of a quality assurance framework and networking events for those running schemes, to help put Homeshare on the map and ensure that it is developed in a safe, cost-effective and sustainable way.

In response to the learning from the evaluation and delivery of schemes on the ground, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Shared Lives Plus and Big Lottery Fund are calling for:

  • More Homeshare schemes to be set up to widen the coverage so more people can benefit from the solutions it offers towards tackling loneliness, helping people stay in their homes and others to find affordable accommodation
  • Local authorities, Clinical Care Commissioning Groups, independent funders and others to support the setup and development of schemes and help them address the challenges outlined in the report and become more effective and sustainable

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales said:

“Sometimes the issues facing society can seem intractable – growing loneliness, isolation and intergenerational divides, the unaffordability of housing and the social care crisis. Homeshare offers a clear and effective way to help people on the sharp end of these issues. The Homeshare Partnership Programme has been instrumental in showing that Homeshare can and does work and we are delighted to have supported it and a package of support to help people set up and manage schemes. We now encourage others to take up the mantle to help more people, their families and communities enjoy the benefits of Homesharing.”

For more information please contact Jon Narcross This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0207 378 4619.

Notes to Editors:

Homeshare UK

  • Homeshare UK is the network for all Homeshare schemes in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We work closely with Homeshare International.
  • There are currently over 20 schemes around the UK, with 250 pairs of people involved and the network has grown by 35% over the last year – homeshareUK.org
  • Homeshare has proven to be a popular model across the US and Europe with schemes successfully operating in 14 countries worldwide.
  • HomeShare UK supports, guides and is the national voice for Homeshare schemes.
  • Our quality standards ensure Homeshare UK network members self-regulate and continuously improve their practices so that they are safe and effective.

The Homeshare model is based on trust and friendship, allowing people to ‘live well’ within their chosen communities. To find out more visit www.homeshareuk.org

About The Partners

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is one of the UK’s leading community grant-makers. An independent registered charity funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the Group’s commitment tohttp://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/ProsperPlan%20%20%20%20" target="_blank">Helping Britain Prosper. The Foundation invests in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives and promotes practical approaches to lasting change. For more information visit www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.


Shared Lives Plus

Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for Shared Lives carers, Shared Lives schemes and Homeshare schemes. With over 5,000 Members UK-wide, we have a unique overview and voice which we use to support schemes and Shared Lives carers through policy, guidance, advice and legal support. We also work to diversify and establish new Shared Lives and Homeshare schemes. To find out more visit www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk


Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works.

SCIE is a leading improvement support agency and an independent charity working with adults’, families’ and children's care and support services across the UK. They also work closely with related services such as health care and housing.


The Foyer Federation

The Foyer Federation exists to ensure young people who can’t live at home get the same investment as other young people. Our aim is to ensure every young person can thrive, not just cope or survive. Across the Foyer network, approximately 10,000 young people aged 16-25 are reached each year. Foyers provide accommodation, personal development and employability support in a nurturing and safe environment. Our role is to innovate, champion service reform and ensure the Foyer network can deliver the best quality offer to young people.


Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support.  It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high-quality health and care; are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate.

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity).


Today, Shared Lives carers and the people they support are meeting Mr Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Social Services and Children, to launch the annual Shared Lives Cymru State of the Nation Report 2018 and announce the new 100 Lives Campaign to provide more support to help older people stay independent.


Shared Lives Plus, the membership organisation for Shared Lives carers and schemes, is looking for 100 capable and caring people willing to share their home and support to people who need a little help to live independently.


Just under 1,000 people in Wales are already Shared Lives carers, and an extra 100 people, would help the service break the thousand barrier to support more people, particularly those over 60 who need health support. Shared Lives – where someone who needs extra support visits or moves in with an approved Shared Lives carer - has transformed hundreds of people’s lives across Wales – and is especially valuable for older people who want to stay in the community they know and love.


45,000 people in Wales live with dementia[1] and the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 232,000 (36.6 per cent) between 2016 and 2041[2]. The need for choice and improved services for people with health challenges is a key part of Welsh Government policy.


Janet Williams, from Llanelli, became a Shared Lives carer and opened-up her home to Max. He’d lived in West Wales, but then had moved abroad for many years. He returned home when his dementia started making daily life difficult. He moved in with Janet Williams and Julie Rumbelow after a spell in his own flat. Janet, who met the Minister today, said, “Shared Lives helped us do an amazing thing. When Max arrived, he was in a dreadful state, but once he was with us, he settled down.


Max has since passed away, but Janet is passionate about encouraging others to take part in this unique scheme.


“We loved hearing his Max’s stories, having a laugh and getting out and about with him. It was a privilege to support him. The last few months were tough, but I’m so glad we did it. I would encourage anyone who has love to give to think about their commitment, but it was a real privilege.”  


Shared Lives Plus is looking for people with life experience and the capacity to care, to help someone else overcome obstacles and achieve their ambitions. Shared Lives carers are paid, but it is more a way of life, as they get a fixed amount and benefit from preferential tax arrangements. They can support someone with a health challenge, a learning disability or a person facing mental ill-health. Support can be given for as little as a day in their home or for a short-break, for a longer time for people recovering from hospital treatment or the support can be for life.


The eight Shared Lives schemes across Wales match Shared Lives carers and the people who want support to make sure they get on and want to share life together. The schemes are there every step of the way and offers guidance and training. Shared Lives has been going for 30 years in Wales and has recently received funding to expand for older people and also those coming home from hospital.


Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care, said, “I am pleased that Shared Lives has grown across Wales over the last year. They are hugely valuable services that enables some of the most vulnerable people in our society to stay in their communities and benefit from a supportive family home environment.


I would like to thank the growing number of Shared Lives carers who open their homes and lives to people who need extra care and support. Your invaluable service makes a positive difference to people’s lives every day.”


 If more people are supported by Shared Lives carers, it could help to save more than £19 million – and evidence shows that people say they feel settled and valued as they maintain relationships and their independence.


To join the 100 lives campaign and for more information, please  call 0151 227 3499 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. telling us why you would make a good Shared Lives carer.


[1] http://gov.wales/newsroom/health-and-social-services/2018/dementia-care/?lang=en

[2] http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/national-population-projections/?lang=en

In response to media coverage 26.10.17

Shared Lives care about people who come out of hospital, especially older people and others who need extra support to live well. Shared Lives is all about the relationship match between Shared Lives carers and people coming out of hospital. We know that when people have chosen who they are going to share with, and are part of a family, they recover more quickly.

We have a long 40 year history of working in social care and we are proven to be one of the safest forms of care – for the last three years 92% of schemes have been rated by the CQC as outstanding or good, and none have been rated inadequate. Local Shared Lives schemes have the back up of a national network and quality assurance, regulation and inspection: this is essential to maintaining the sector’s exceptional safeguarding record.

We welcome innovation in health and social care services, for us it is not about cost-cutting – it’s about putting people first, building strong relationships and safety to recover and live well.

For any other questions, media enquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07392 313 500.

Read Alex Fox, CEO's blog - 'More than a room'

About Shared Lives

Shared Lives is a long-established, regulated and researched home-based support model which has a long history in social care and more recently has been developed to offer home from hospital and other kinds of healthcare, with the backing of the Dept Health and NHS England.

Shared Lives carers are recruited by their local CQC-registered Shared Lives scheme and put through a rigorous 3 – 6 month approval process, before being carefully matched with an adult who needs support.  Together, they share family and community life. Half of the14,000 people using Shared Lives move in with their Shared Lives carer to live as part of their household; half visit for day support or overnight breaks. 

Shared Lives is used by a people with a wide range of long-term support needs including learning disabilities, mental health problems, physical or sensory impairments. Some are older people with dementia, who typically use Shared Lives instead of visiting a care home when their family needs a break from caring. Some, such as care leavers and young disabled adults, learn independent living skills and put down roots in the community, to enable them to move into their own place without becoming isolated. Home from hospital care is a recent but promising development which has Dept Health funding.

Shared Lives in health

There are nearly 10,000 Shared Lives carers. They are all approved following rigorous recruitment and training by one of the UK’s 150 regulated local schemes. The Care Quality Commission rates Shared Lives as 92% good or excellent: better than all other forms of social care.

NHS England and seven NHS trusts are investing over £2m in scaling up Shared Lives as a new form of healthcare. When Shared Lives is used by, for instance, people recovering from stroke, the same safeguarding and matching processes are adapted to enable the patient to meet a potential Shared Lives carer and make a choice as to whether to stay in their house. The Shared Lives scheme supports and monitors the match. There is also a project specifically at supporting people being discharged from hospital which has funding from the Department of Health and Dunhill Medical Trust in 7 pilot sites.

What is the difference between Shared Lives and ‘Airbnb care rooms’?

The success of Shared Lives, which is now present in almost every UK area, stems from its values and practices which are very different from those reported about ‘care rooms’:

  • The well-being of the person coming out of hospital is put first, along with their choice and match with a Shared Lives carer.
  • Shared Lives carers are trained and paid to support and include someone in their family life, their incentive is not to make money (unlike the reports in the headlines). People in Shared Lives households enjoy meals and other social times together as a household.
  • Shared Lives relationships are often very long lasting: some people have lived together or remained important parts of each other’s lives for decades.
  • The local Shared Lives scheme has the back up of a national network, policies, procedures, outcome measuring tools, quality assurance system, regulation and inspection: this is essential to maintaining the sector’s exceptional safeguarding record.
  • We believe that people’s health, wellbeing and independence are closely linked: people recover well in Shared Lives households from a hospital stay because they feel part of a supportive household and their community again.

Shared Lives is already independently shown to be lower cost and less risky way of supporting someone than traditional forms of care. It already helps thousands of people to live healthy, happy lives. For us innovation is not about cost cutting – we prioritise strong relationships and safety to live well.   

For any other questions, media enquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07392 313 500.

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Contact the Press Team

Contact the shared Lives Plus Communications Team who will be happy to help you. 

Communications Manager

Phone: 0151 227 3499 

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