The project is a groundbreaking, national-first pilot initiative. PhD researchers are invited to register interest for flats in Ellis House, a sheltered housing scheme which has had PhDs living and building community for over a year now. PhDs are offered reduced rents of around £520/pcm for their own flat, and will volunteer for 15 hours per month with existing older residents.
We provide companionship and improve existing older residents' health and sense of well-being, as well as build the skills of postgraduates, and help them to access affordable accommodation in central Cambridge.
We’re working with CHS Group, a Social Enterprise and charitable Housing Association set up by members of the University of Cambridge in 1927. CHS houses 7,000 people and is caring/supporting 2,000 others in Cambridgeshire. For 90 years they have been working across the county to provide affordable, long-term, and innovative housing solutions - and we’re very excited that LinkAges is part of this.
Why intergenerational housing?
All across continental Europe, projects have been developed to bring young and old together through housing projects. Students have been offered rooms in care homes at reduced rents, in return for volunteering and spending time with older residents of the care homes or sheltered housing.
The positive impacts for the older residents included significant reductions in loneliness and improvements in health & well being – reflecting other research from across the world and in the UK (including other LinkAges projects in Bristol, Southampton, Kingston, Oxford & Winchester) of the positive impact of links with younger generations. And for the students, the impacts included reductions in their financial indebtedness via much more affordable accommodation, access to larger, more comfortable flats than are available in colleges, and relevant experience to help their careers and studies, enjoyment, and a better understanding of what the older generation has to offer.
So the option of developing such a model was examined, developed in partnership with the CHS Group. They identified Ellis House, a sheltered housing scheme off Milton Road. The scheme is a short cycle from the city centre, is close to the river, and has shops nearby - so it was chosen as an ideal residence for both older and younger people.
What will I get from the programme?
As well as being able to live in a very comfortable, furnished studio apartment in a quiet but well-connected part of central Cambridge, you will be gaining varied skills and experiences.
As the pioneers of a new way of living together, we are keen to provide you with a great skillset that will help with living in the project and make you more employable in the long-term. We invest a lot of time and energy into our student leaders, and will be running training for you prior to your moving in, as well as tailoring our support to your areas of strength and weakness.
New residents will be trained on project management, event management, intergenerational working, human-centred design, and the context of intergenerational housing initiatives across Europe. They will be offered mentoring and on-tap support from our staff team in creating effective and enjoyable initiatives in the housing block. They will also have access to the normal tenancy support from the housing association.
What is the mix of older residents and postgraduates?
We currently have three PhD tenants, living with 23 older residents.