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New scheme offers people a home in exchange for providing practical support and companionship

Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum
28 September 2022
Image shows female home carer supporting old woman to stand up from the sofa at care home

Female home carer supporting old woman to stand up from the sofa at care home

A new scheme has been launched in Cornwall to match people who need companionship and some practical support with someone who is looking for somewhere to live and can provide that support.

Cornwall Council is partnering with Supportmatch and Cornwall’s Voluntary Sector Forum to deliver the Homeshare scheme, with the aim of reducing loneliness, providing practical support and affordable accommodation.

Supportmatch is a non-profit organisation that has over 10 years of experience of delivering the Homeshare service across the UK.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for housing Olly Monk said: “We are exploring a number of ways to address the current housing crisis in Cornwall and this scheme is a fantastic way of giving someone a home and at the same time giving someone who may currently live alone that extra companionship and help.”

Cabinet member for adults and public health, Cllr Andy Virr said: “This scheme has seen a lot of success in other parts of the country, and I’m pleased that it is now being introduced here in Cornwall.

“We know that loneliness can be detrimental to both mental and physical health. Homeshare will provide a range of opportunities for lots of different people, including those who are getting a bit older and a bit less mobile and those who are younger but are struggling to find accommodation. It makes complete sense to match these people up with a living situation that suits both parties.”

In most cases, practical support such as cleaning, cooking and walking the dog, is spread across the week, along with providing companionship. Both people involved pay a fee to Supportmatch who carry out Enhanced DBS, interviews and references with the homesharer.  The householder decides who will come to live in their home and safeguarding is a crucial part of the service.

Supportmatch Homeshare - the perfect match for people in Cornwall

A resident in Hayle has recently taken on a home-sharer. They said: “I think I have been very lucky to have found such an interesting and helpful companion, but I also think that this came about largely through the skill and attention to detail provided by Supportmatch.

“We have agreed a plan for how she helps me whilst continuing to lead her own life. She goes shopping, helps in the house and on occasion ferries me around in her car to appointments. I find her companionship both enriching and stimulating. I would certainly advise others in my position to join me in taking the plunge.”

Cornwall VSF’s Deputy CEO Kate Perkin said, “Homeshare is a really positive demonstration of great things happening as a result of working in a collaborative way. The scheme will reduce some of the demands on the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, by offering another possible solution for people living with loneliness and those in need of housing. Cornwall VSF is proud of this approach, and to be part of co-designing other solutions seeking to bring improvement for our people and our communities in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.”

If you or someone you know has a spare room and would like to find out more then please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or call 0203 633 6066.   Please also get in touch if you are looking for accommodation and think this arrangement might suit you.

Visit Supportmatch Homeshare website to find out more

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