Oxford

Oxford City Council gives Homeshare scheme £10,000

People struggling to find accommodation in Oxford could soon be given the option of helping elderly residents in return for cheap rent.

Age UK has been given £10,000 by the city council to set up a Homeshare project, like ones already running in places like Bristol and London.

Participants are expected to provide about 10 hours of work to their older home owner in return for their room.

The charity said it was a common sense solution that benefited both parties.

Each Homeshare scheme is unique and in Bristol it focuses on matching tenants for people who have dementia.

Safeguarding measures

Audrey Herd, who runs Homeshare West, said it has a number of measures to ensure the safety of the elderly home owners.

She said: "The safeguards are a very tough interviewing and vetting process, the interviews probably take two to three hours altogether and because it's not employment I am able to take confidential telephone reference."

Criminal Records Bureau checks are also made.

In Oxford, the scheme is expected to cater for participants with less intensive needs, including older people who wish to remain independent but have become too frail to carry out some basic tasks.

Elizabeth Mills, from Homeshare International, which helps establish the schemes, said: "We will need more money to fully evaluate the scheme and run a pilot.

"We would need something like £50,000 or £60,000 but it is fantastic that we have the support of the city council."

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