Homeshare Oxford is a service being run by AGE UK Oxfordshire. It is an exciting scheme that aims to change the way people think about living in Oxford. The aim is to match people already in the city, who have a spare room and who want to help and support the younger generation, with people who need accommodation in Oxford and who want to be part of a home and lend a hand. Homeshare Oxford is supported by Lloyds Bank Foundation, as part of a new programme in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, to develop the Homeshare model as a sustainable solution to the parallel social issues of loneliness among older people and unaffordable housing costs for younger people.
The Homeshare project leader, Marian Pocock, requested Cranfield Trust’s help on two interlinked projects. Firstly, to help improve marketing and communication with service users and secondly, to facilitate a workshop focusing on developing a sustainable service. The main issues faced by the charity were how to attract and increase the number of elderly householders to use the Homeshare service, and how to ensure that service delivery processes were as smooth as possible for all concerned.
Cranfield Trust volunteer management consultant, Paul, worked with Marian to offer practical solutions with clear impact and outcomes. To help grow the charity’s audience, data analysis was used to identify areas with the highest number of potential households and the various marketing touch points that could be used to drive engagement, such as doctors’ surgeries and local leaflet drops.
A visual tracker was also introduced, which enabled easier and more engaging conversations about the current service and future improvements. Further to this work, two workshops were facilitated by Paul, which involved bringing together the project team, marketing team, CEO and the Finance Director to collaboratively work towards streamlining the service. This was achieved by helping to build a shared vision of the service lifecycle, and discussing how to drive efficiencies based on experience gained from running the service to understand future resources needed to run the Homeshare project.
Support from a Cranfield Trust volunteer has meant that the Homeshare team have been able to increase the number of people using the service, bring to life the case for its ongoing operation. Marian was very pleased with the project outcomes, saying, “We are very appreciative of Paul’s help and his expertise. It was refreshing to have someone from outside the sector bringing a new perspective and plenty of experience, we would like to thank you for taking us on and for all the invaluable help we have had and ongoing links as a result.”
The project was not just beneficial for the charity, Paul also gained from working on the project, saying “As a volunteer I found the experience very rewarding. It cost me a relatively small amount of time – just 10 days in total from start to finish, which was spread overall several months to help the team reflect, plan and take action. Seeing the commitment from Marian and Mary to the service was inspirational.”
Marian finished by saying, "Having a Cranfield Trust volunteer was transformative for our project. It allowed us to step back and think about what we do and how we do it. Going forward, we are now much better equipped and more confident to do what we do."