Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Communal spaces are losing out to bedrooms

Communal spaces are losing out to bedrooms

AN investigation by the Times has found that landlords of shared houses are increasingly turning communal spaces into bedrooms, leaving tenants with no place to socialise.

The research, based on an analysis of rooms available on house-sharing websites, found that a third of these properties — rising to 90 per cent in London — had no separate living room.

Meanwhile, a recent survey published by flat-sharing website SpareRoom claims that around nine million people in the UK suffer from loneliness, and a third of millennials — dubbed “Generation Rent” — say that they always or often feel lonely.

The survey claims that communal eating can help to solve the problem, and that people who eat together report that it has a positive effect on their living environment and usually improves their mood.

Despite this, the survey says that many people still eat most of their meals in isolation.

In response to the situation, SpareRoom has named Andrew Clarke, who campaigns to support people in the catering industry who are struggling with loneliness and mental health problems, their “National Loneliness Chef”. In association with The Campaign to End Loneliness, Mr Clarke has created six free food-sharing recipes inspired by the community and sharing cultures in Cajun, Italian and Mexican cuisines.

He said: “Time spent together over a good meal will unite strangers, deepen friendships and leave people feeling more positive about the world around them.

“Sharing is at the heart of the recipes I’ve created — I hope people will bond over preparing, cooking and eating this food together, and ultimately help those feeling lonely.”

This may be a nice idea and a noble endeavour, but it could also prove to be impossible to sit down and eat together in a house without a communal room.

SpareRoom communications director Matt Hutchinson said: “We all know that food brings people together. So in a time when we hear more and more about young people experiencing loneliness, getting people to cook and eat together is a great way to remind us we’re not alone.

“Sometimes you end up living with people you don’t know so well, or you just have different schedules, and eating together doesn’t quite happen.It’s important to make time, even just once a week, to sit down with the people you live with and share a meal, a chat, and maybe a bit more of each other’s lives in the process.”

Food to Share is available to download at www.static.spareroom. co.uk/downloads/FoodToShare.pdf

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