“As a way to give back and enrich people’s lives, homeshare is really rewarding.”: view from a sharer’s perspective
Recently trained primary school teacher and well-established piano teacher, Nicky, aged 47, is homesharing in Cambridge with a wonderful couple in their 80s.
Following a period of unfulfilling house sharing, Nicky discovered homesharing and was intrigued. She hasn’t looked back since.
The trio have developed a secure friendship, and strong sense of connection – fulfilling Nicky’s desire to live in a more meaningful way, to give something back to society, and to also live in a cost-effective way.
Q: What attracted you to move into a homeshare?
Originally, I rented a home with my daughter in Norwich, but unfortunately the home was put up for sale. As my daughter was at University at the time, I decided I wanted a new adventure, and so I tried house sharing (which is very different to homesharing!). Living with a number of different people, there were various bumps along the way, and it was during this period that I realised I needed something more secure and more meaningful.
I saw an advert for homesharing and it absolutely appealed, for several reasons. It was a more economical way to save money so that my daughter and I can eventually pull together a deposit for our own home. I also wanted to give something back, and enriching people’s lives through a homeshare arrangement was an attractive option. I was intrigued!
Q: Tell me about your homeshare arrangement
I homeshare in Cambridge with a husband and wife in their 80s, and I am incredibly lucky because we are all highly compatible and share intellectual interests. We live in a lovely area. Not only is the architecture around Cambridge amazing, but there is so much green space and the walks along the river are beautiful.
There is a strong level of respect and expectation which is fantastic, and we’ve all become really good friends.
Q: What type of activities or tasks do you do for/with the householders?
My householders enjoy morning coffee and afternoon tea, it’s a ritual that we always share together, and it gives us all a positive lift!
I help with the daily chores. For example, I make sure the kitchen is clean and tidy at the end of every day. We live in a three-story house, and navigating the stairs is a challenge for my householders, so to save them going up and down, I empty the bins on each level too. Another task that my householders are grateful to have some support with is to make the beds – they find lifting the mattress too heavy so I’m always happy to do this.
My daughter, who is studying at university, has also come to visit, and my householders made her feel so welcome, they have really embraced her. We had afternoon tea together and they even baked her a delicious cake!
Q: What impact does homeshare have on you as a sharer?
Through homeshare, I have adopted the role of a family friend, which is so much nicer than house sharing with random people. There is a greater depth of connection and I feel a sense of belonging. I also get on very well with their adult children.
I have become part of a cohesive unit, which is incredibly rewarding and very much needed after my period of house sharing! For me, it’s the emotional support of being part of a group which is fantastic.
Homesharing is impacting my life, and future, in different ways too – because homesharing requires a much lower level of finance to fund, it means I can recalibrate my life in other areas. It has given me the freedom to build my work as a self-employed piano teacher, while also working as a teacher in a school. Effectively I can shape my working week, which wouldn’t have been possible in other living arrangements.
My work-life balance is there now, and from a financial point of view, homesharing enables me to optimise my income, and significantly lower my outgoings.
Q: What would you say to others considering a homeshare arrangement?
It’s such a positive experience for everyone concerned – for me, the householder’s, their family, and also my daughter. I would recommend it to everyone!
The balance is right, and everyone is clear about what they want to get from it; it simply works for everyone.
I feel that homeshare should be much more widely understood and appreciated as society is in desperate need for a scheme such as this.