Intergenerational living enables both young and old to live alongside each other as good neighbours. It promotes engagement, interaction and a shared understanding.

In turn this helps to reduce reliance on care services access to which can often be an even bigger issue for those living in rural districts.

Harmony delivers purpose-built homes/flats for local people at social rents to enable them to remain in their community. The homes shall be for both young and old with the aim of providing support for their elderly neighbours, reducing loneliness, isolation and promoting integration. Where possible at least one home shall be allocated to a local younger person(s) who has experience of working in care or is undergoing training in the care field.

Many of those working in care are on minimum wage and find it very difficult to afford rents in their rural parishes. In return for a tenancy charged at social rent levels those younger tenants will undertake an agreed number of hours a month being a ‘good neighbour’ to the other residents / tenants.

The opportunity to remain in their community whilst paying a social rent may enable those tenants to save towards a deposit for a future home.

The provision of much needed appropriate, social rent homes for older people to down-size into is often highlighted as a need within Neighbourhood and Parish plans and within housing need surveys. A 2020 House of Commons report found that only 2-3% of new homes are Social Rent.

The Issues

  • Intergenerational inequity around issues such as home ownership and pensions has created a divide between the young and the old.
  • Increasing numbers of people living well into old age but for whom loneliness, isolation and inappropriate accommodation are a real and growing issue.
  • Loneliness isn’t just a condition of the older generation with many young people also reporting they feel lonely and isolated.
  • Loneliness has significant implications for health and social care services.
  • Lack of affordable housing options for minimum wage care workers and those in higher education studying social care.

How will HARMONY assist LAs and NPGs?

  • Helps deliver homes which meet the identified needs of an area in line with both older and younger persons housing and planning policies.
  • Provides purpose-built homes with assistive technology which allow the elderly to grown old in their community with the support of family, friends and young care professionals nearby to provide support and companionship. This reduces the reliance on external care services and social care funding requirements of the local authority.
  • Providing affordable accommodation for training care workers helps to retain key undersupplied services in the local area which may otherwise have been lost to urban cities which offer more affordable housing options.
  • Create churn by freeing up existing homes for younger people. In the case of the affordable rented homes they can free up larger affordable homes for priority needs applicants.

National context

Key statistics around loneliness include:

  • 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom over two million are aged 75+
  • Over one million older people say they always or often feel lonely.
  • Nearly half of older people (49% of 65+ UK) say that television or pets are their main form of company.
  • Looking to the future, the overall numbers of older people reporting loneliness are predicted to rise 40% between now and 2030.

Loneliness and it’s impact on your health

  • Is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, worse for you than obesity and is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2010 and 2015).
  • Lonely people are also more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006).
  • Loneliness has significant implications for health and social care services. (Russell DW, Cutrona CE, de la Mora A, Wallace RB. Loneliness and nursing home admission among rural older adults. Psychol Aging1997;12(4):574-89.)
  • Two-fifths (40 per cent) of people aged 16-24 say they feel lonely often or very often, compared to 29 per cent of 65-74-year-olds and 27 per cent of those aged over 75, according to a nationwide survey - the largest ever conducted into the issue - carried out by BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind in collaboration with Wellcome Collection.
  • A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over nine million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.
  • Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year

How does Harmony work?


Homes funded by institutional investors.


Homes built to building regulations and Harmony standards including provision for assistive technologies.

Younger persons:

Homes allocated to a local younger persons who have experience of working in care or is undergoing training in the care field may be prioritised. In return for a tenancy at social rent levels the tenant will undertake an agreed number of hours a month being a ‘good neighbour’ to the other residents / tenants.

Older persons:

Homes allocated to a local person over the age of 55 who would
benefit from ‘a good neighbour’ calling in to see them.


Freeing up existing larger family sized homes in the community through the delivery of downsizer/starter housing.

House types:

A two bedroom down-sizing house with flexibility to use a reception room as a bedroom if mobility declines. Total 1000 sq ft GIFA.

Key features:

Access to assistive technology.
Incorporating many lifetime homes features such as wider doorways and level access.