Friday 18 October 2019

Entrepreneur attempts to match students and elderly to bridge generational gap

Sarah Stack

A social entrepreneur is trying to solve two major issues affecting society by bridging the generational gap.

Former UCD student Peter Morrissey co-founded Generation Accommodation which matches dependable students and elderly people living alone near the university.

The not-for-profit, which has already matched 22 students and homeowners after a “rigorous” application process, plans to double its matches in the New Year and be nationwide by next September.

“If they match on paper we get them to meet a couple of times and build a rapport with each other,” said the 24-year-old from Dublin.

“We’ve had no complaints so far.”

The company was created last year with Enactus Ireland, which sponsors universities and students to create social enterprises. The idea came from headlines in the media about loneliness being the worst form of poverty and the student housing crisis.

A student rents a room for about 40pc less than average, while the homeowner can earn up to €10,000 a year without it affecting social welfare payments.

It ran a pilot scheme with four post graduate students over the summer before launching this September.

“We thought there’s a lot of homeowners living alone around UCD and there’s a lot of students looking for accommodation, so why can’t be bring them together,” he said.

Mr Morrissey and his 18 co-founders won the national award will represent Ireland at 2014 Enactus World Cup Final in Beijing next week.

“We have a three year plan in place,” he said.

“Next year we hope to scale across all Dublin and Irish universities, and in year two we hope to go across Europe and by year we hope to be worldwide.”

Mr Morrissey was one of the 1,400 international delegates at the One Young World conference in Dublin. He was sponsored by UCD’s Smurfit Business School, where he recently completed a masters in management consultancy,

“It’s very interesting,” he added.

“I was speaking to a host of people from different nations and I’m thriving off their energy. A lot of them are also social entrepreneurs so if you can take one nugget of energy from every person you meet and take it it’s amazing.”

INM is the media partner of the summit.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News