Homesharing scheme launched by Jewish social worker partners with Age UK

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Homesharing scheme launched by Jewish social worker partners with Age UK

Two Generations has linked up with Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent boroughs to match elderly and young in a bid to tackle rising rents and isolation

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Two Generations
Two Generations

A groundbreaking social care initiative, co-founded by Jewish social worker Natasha Langleben, has been chosen as a partner for Age UK,  the leading charity for older people, to provide homeshare services in three north London boroughs — Hillingdon, Harrow, and Brent.

Age UK’s homeshare project was first launched in 2019.

Now it’s working with Two Generations, which, in the last five years, has helped bring old and young people together to combat loneliness.

Natasha Langleben said: “We’re really excited to be delivering homeshares for Age UK. Our mission is to tackle loneliness for as many people as possible across the country. Age UK are the perfect partners to help us reach a large number of older people, early on, so that we can support them to remain independent in their own home. Our homeshares often last many years, creating lasting inter-generational friendships.”

Pic: Two Generations

Two Generations was inspired by co-founder Sam Brandman’s late grandmother, “an amazing woman” says Natasha, “who was playing in table tennis championships into her 90s. [After her death] he had the idea that she could have really benefited from sharing her experience with someone living with her. He contacted me as a social worker with experience in safeguarding, and because I had run social enterprises in the past”.

In 2019 after a year’s careful preparation, Two Generations launched its first homeshare — Norman, in his 90s, and George, a Syrian refugee — which became one of the longest homeshares, only ending after three years when Norman sadly died. “It was a really successful share”, says Natasha.

During Covid, Two Generations took its work remotely, pairing up individuals through its matching service. “The pandemic really showed that loneliness was a big issue”, Natasha says. “It obviously wasn’t new, but people talked about it more. We’ve now grown the team to a mixture of 15 volunteers and part-time workers — and we are working with councils and also, in the wake of the Homes for Ukraine programme, with World Jewish Relief.”

Two Generations has now enabled almost 70 sharing placements and hopes to expand with many more in partnership with Age UK.

Natasha herself is currently on maternity leave after the birth of her second child, but she says homesharing is “a passion project” for her, and has found time to enthuse about the work in the press and on TV.

Rick and Gretta are a fantastic example of how homeshare can transform lives.

Gretta is 93 years old, a very independent person who recently had a fall, and knew she needed some overnight companionship if she wanted to remain at home. Two Generations placed Rick, 68, with her, over 18 months ago and the pair now spend time together playing cards and gardening. Gretta said: “Rick is incredibly generous with his time, we are now dear friends, I can highly recommend Two Generations”.

Would-be sharers are closely vetted by Two Generations so that the person opening their home can be assured that the incomer “is not just looking for cheap housing”, says Natasha, who says the homeshares are regularly monitored during the placement. And some older people are so enthusiastic about the idea, that there are at least two householders who are now being matched with their third set of sharers.

Age UK’s CEO for Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent, Julian Lloyd, said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with Two Generations to make homeshare even more widely available for the benefit of everyone across our three boroughs. We wanted to ensure we had the resource necessary to grow our homeshare service so that we could offer it, as one of a number of tools to help combat loneliness and provide key support at home.

“Homeshare can support people when they have come out of hospital, when they have mental health or physical health challenges or when they just want an overnight presence and some help around the home. Two Generations are the perfect partner to deliver this service. They encapsulate the same values and warmth towards all their clients and are set up to support far larger numbers. We are really excited at being able to offer such an important service across the boroughs.

“Two Generations will take on the homeshare enquiries on our behalf. They’re an experienced national provider with lots of successful sharers across the country, and this new partnership will bring their expertise to Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent for the future.”

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