From the meeting about Sharing we have found several ways in which shared living could help both find affordable places to live and also help older people to have company, household help and more security.

Some of these are ideas to inspire, some of them are potential businesses.

Bill Palmer talked about these potentials on Frome FM. A podcast of the broadcast can be downloaded at

  1. HOMESHARE: This was the model about which Audrey Heard talked. She runs Homeshare West in Bath and Bristol.  Homeshare West finds older people who are in need of a live-in sharer, not only as a lodger but to help with household chores, shopping etc. They then find suitable sharers and facilitate a process where the sharer and the owner can check whether they get on well. They also monitor the relationship after it starts. Both owner and sharer pay Homeshare £100 a month for the service. The sharer pays nothing to the owner.

    The advantage for the owner is that they get a live in helper and companion for a fraction of the cost of paying for a live-in carer. Social services can then supply visiting carers for the personal care and the sharer just helps around the house.

    Is there anybody out there who wants to start a Homeshare Frome?

  2. LODGING: 20% of houses in the UK are very under-occupied – often because children have left home, partners have died or divorced. At the same time there is an epidemic of loneliness which research shows has a detrimental effect on health.

    Why not have a lodger? Maybe because you are afraid that they will disturb your routines, make too much noise, make a mess? All of these concerns are real and there are ways to resolve them. Also, financially there are big advantages to having lodgers. The first £7500 that you make out of having a lodger is tax free.

  3. EDSPACE: Even if you haven’t got spare rooms, it’s now possible to set up a pod (called an Edspace) in your garden which Edventure custom builds. These conform to the planning rules and give a little bit of separation between owner and lodger. Contact Edventure at if you are interested
  4. EXTENDED FAMILY COMMUNITY: Several families are starting these up. realising that the grown up children will be unlikely to get on the housing ladder several parents are pooling resources with their children, buying a house with some land and building a family community.

    This also has the advantage to the parents of ensuring that they have loved ones around them as they get older and reduces the likelihood of having to go into care.

  5. INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNITY: This could also be an idea for prospective investor-landlords who are wanting to invest money in housing but also want to do some social good. The idea is to set up, in single houses, an intergenerational community. On the ground floor would be apartments for older people and some communal space. On the upper floors are affordable apartments and bedsits for young families and single people.

    The tenants buy into the idea of living communally and it is part of their contract. Living communally teaches young people a lot about life and relationship and it has the same advantage of dealing with old-age loneliness that the other solutions give.