As a relatively new Fellow of the RSA, I was keen to get involved practically with the local Oxford Fellowship and bring my experience and work to the attention of others. I was excited to see the RSA developing work around public service and communities to “enable people to take an active role in solving the problems in their own communities” as my work encompasses this area.
My family history with the RSA goes back to its very beginnings, as my GGGG Grandfather, Sir Charles Whitworth, was a founding Vice President and the Council member responsible for commissioning the Adam brothers to design and build RSA House. I have spent many happy hours researching Sir Charles' life, in the excellent RSA archives, and it is nice to think that I can also take part in the development of the organisation both nationally, and here in Oxford.
One key project I am involved in is Homeshare, which is active in 16 different countries. Homeshare programmes match older or disabled householders with able-bodied younger people for their mutual benefit. Intergenerational living is all the rage these days, with the housing shortage squeezing those on low incomes (like post-graduate students) and social isolation and depression besetting older people. It is a classic "win-win" arrangement, with the added advantage of providing peace of mind for families.
Homeshare programmes are mostly run by not-for-profit organisations, and we are pleased to see Age UK Oxfordshire taking up the baton and starting a city wide programme. Oxford is a city that has a great socio-economic and cultural diversity with some of the most expensive properties in the country - leading to it being particularly difficult for the younger generation to afford property and rent. So the programme should have particular relevance here.
Homeshare International is an educational charity, committed to promoting Homeshare around the world, encouraging the formation of programmes and national networks of programmes, and spreading good practice. The most important work we do is the biennial World Homeshare Congress - the next will take place on 5/6 November 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Further information about the congress and about Homeshare International, can be found on the website.
I am keen to see how we can tap into the knowledge and skills of RSA Fellows to benefit the Homeshare project and will be exploring ways of taking this forward in the next few months.
If you are interested please get in contact with me on firstname.lastname@example.org