A participant in an innovative Leeds City Council homeshare scheme has celebrated her 100th birthday this week.

Joining family members and many other well-wishers to congratulate Roundhay resident Margaret Marshall on reaching the fantastic milestone, which included a special birthday card from Her Majesty, the Queen, were former Home sharers Holly and Jon, both students. Since 2018, first Jon, then Holly lived with Margaret as part of the Leeds Homeshare scheme, which matches older people that have a spare room and who would like some assistance at home, with someone who can offer 10 hours of weekly support. This help could be with daily tasks such as cleaning, shopping, gardening or assistance in getting out and about to support a continued, independent lifestyle. In return, the younger sharer receives an affordable, homely place to stay whilst also having the opportunity to enjoy the company of an older person.

This was certainly the case for Holly, who found that the 78-year age difference with Margaret was in no way a barrier, but in fact one of the main reasons why she had such a positive house share experience. This view is echoed by Margaret, who said that she really enjoyed Holly and previous house sharer Jon being in the house. Highlights for Margaret included the sharing of meals, the many games of scrabble, and having the opportunity to share her life experiences and stories of her European travel adventures whilst also listening to those of the young people.

Due to continued challenges associated with coronavirus, Leeds Homeshare is continuing to assess national guidance and has not yet proceeded with any new sharer matches at this time. Expressions of interest to participate in the scheme are however still very much open, and the Leeds Homeshare team would love to hear from anyone that may be interested in taking part in the future.

More details regarding the scheme, which was launched in 2016, can be found here: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/health-and-social-care/adult-social-care/help-to-live-at-home/leeds-homeshare

Regarding any specific questions, please call 0113 37 85410 for a chat, or email: homeshare@leeds.gov.uk

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said:

“On behalf of Leeds City Council and everyone in our fantastic homeshare team, I’d like to wish Margaret a very Happy 100th Birthday. Margaret was one of the first people to sign up to our innovative Leeds Homeshare scheme, and I am delighted to hear that she has really enjoyed the experience in sharing her home with students Jon and Holly

“This scheme is a great way that an older person can receive support to continue their independent lifestyle, whilst also at the same time offering many benefits to the young people taking part. The feedback we have received since the launch of Leeds Homeshare in 2016 has been really positive, which is great news.

“Whilst due to coronavirus, we are currently not proceeding with any new matches at the moment, we would still very much like to hear from any older or younger person who may wish to take part in Leeds Homeshare sometime in the future once national guidance allows. Margaret celebrating her 100th birthday is a great example of how age really is nothing but a number when it comes to Leeds Homeshare, so please don’t rule yourself out until you have had a look at what we have to offer.”

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