The Linkages project in Cambridge is a groundbreaking initiative where PhD researchers are invited to live alongside older residents. The 'wins' are both ways with real benefits for both sides of the relationship.

The Linkages project in Cambridge is a groundbreaking initiative where PhD researchers are invited to alongside older residents. It works both ways. This is a project which benefits both sides of the relationship.

So how does it work? For the older residents, the postgraduate students provide companionship, improving the older residents health and sense of wellbeing, whilst reducing loneliness. And for the students, the arrangement works for them too — building their skills and helping them to access affordable accommodation in central Cambridge. Rents are dramatically reduced to around £520 per month for their own flat, and in exchange they volunteer for 15 hours per month with existing older residents.

CHS Group, a Social Enterprise and charitable Housing Association set up by members of the University of Cambridge is behind the scheme. For nearly 90 years they have been working across the county to provide affordable, long-term, and innovative housing solutions. Their partnership with Linkages is a brilliant example of such innovation.

Linkages has been inspired by the successful intergenerational housing popping up in increasing numbers all across Europe, where projects have been developed to bring young and old together through housing projects. Students had 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 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.

"Linkages has been inspired by the successful intergenerational housing popping up in increasing numbers all across Europe, where projects have been developed to bring young and old together through housing projects."

The scheme in Cambridge 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.

We look forward to hearing about the deep cross age friendships which will emerge from this fantastic initiative.

You can find out more here.

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