West Leeds: New Homeshare scheme helps young and old


In West Leeds there are more than 9,500 pensioners living alone and, for some of them, sharing a home with a younger person looking for an affordable place to live could be a massive help. Leeds City Council’s Cath Ormerod writes about how Homeshare could make a difference.

Homeshare is a really simple idea. The scheme matches younger people looking for an affordable place to live with an older person with a spare room who needs a helping hand at home.

The Homesharer commits to give around 10 hours a week support with daily tasks: those things that can start to get difficult as you get older, like shopping for groceries, cooking and cleaning. Pet care and keeping on top of the garden are also popular.

Homeshare is a way to help older people stay independent at home for longer. The Centre for Ageing Better tells us without question that home is where most people want to be, quoting 80% of homeowners aged 65 and over wish to stay where they are.

What about the younger Homesharer?

Younger people have been hit hard by a combination of rising tuition fees and an unprecedented rise in housing costs. At the same time career prospects are hampered by a need to reconcile high rental rates with low income internships, apprenticeships or low graduate starting salaries.

homeshare shopping
Homeshare could lead to help with things like shopping

Homeshare offers a secure and comfortable home and can also be is an ideal solution for weekday commuters, or those looking for a home away from home in a new town or city. Homeshare can offer companionship and mutual support.

There are also times in life when a period of affordable settled accommodation that is can help you get back on your feet, such as after a relationship breakdown.

It’s also an interesting life experience and adds something unique to a CV.

A safe arrangement?

Cath Ormerod, Leeds Homeshare co–ordinator, offers reassurance on this:

“We have put a lot of thought into making Homeshare a safe and supported scheme.

“In addition to application checks including DBS, References and Credit Checks we have a thorough assessment and offer ongoing support.

“I work with a team of social workers with a wealth of experience working with vulnerable adults and personally have ten years’ experience working as a consulting manager in a Safeguarding context.

“Homeshare can offer peace of mind for families who are worried about an elderly relative when they can’t be nearby.”

Age UK has reported that 17% of older people have less than once weekly contact with family, friends and neighbours.

Whilst many older people are living happy and connected lives for those feeling lonely and isolated Homeshare may be a solution.

The Homeshare scheme can offer companionship and the security of someone else in the house overnight and can be a real solution to those struggling to manage alone.

In West Leeds there are 9,511 pensioners living alone and for some of them Homeshare could be the answer to being able to stay comfortably in their own home.

Homeshare is new to Leeds, do you know it works?

Homeshare has been running successfully across the globe since the 1970s from the US to Australia and there are loads of great European schemes. There are also a few Homeshare schemes in communities in the UK. We know it’s a tried and tested formula.

A three-year £2m national Homeshare Programme has now been developed by the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Big Lottery Fund to put Homesharing on the map as a viable solution to the parallel issues of a lack of affordable housing for young people and the growing number of older people who are lonely or isolated and in need of practical support and companionship.

For more information about schemes currently in operation.

And more details on International Homeshare.

To find out more about Homeshare Leeds give us a call on 0113 3785410 or email: homeshare@leeds.gov.uk

Our application forms and FAQ’s can be downloaded here.


  1. It is a great idea and works generally works work as the news item suggests. I was involved in some early discussions/research about this. At the proposal stage this was not a free service for the older person. Some of the older people most in need of this kind of support are council tenants, one wonders what kind of restrictions will be placed on them for housing a lodger. In addition tenant pensioners with a spare room might be hard to find, the ‘bedroom tax’ saw many, pre-pension age being asked to down size from the homes in which they had brought up families, and now under occupied…..or pay more tax….or take in a lodger.

  2. The Leeds City Council link in the article is broken, and a search on their website on the word “homeshare” yields zero results.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Techno. I’ve contacted the council and asked them to send me the right link.

      Apologies for the inconvenience.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.