Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Morse actor in home share scheme

James and Noreen Grout
Mr Grout and his wife were matched with a Polish nurse

The actor who played Inspector Morse's boss is taking advantage of a new scheme in Wiltshire to help elderly people retain their independence.

James Grout, 81, and his wife Noreen, who live in Malmesbury, have signed up to the council-run Homeshare project.

The scheme matches people who need help at home with those who need somewhere to live and can offer help in return.

James Grout played Chf Supt Strange in the Inspector Morse television series over three decades.

Mr and Mrs Grout were matched with Ewa Gajda, a theatre nurse from Poland, who is working at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Susan Verity, of Wiltshire County Council, said: "Homeshare works on the basis of someone has a spare room in their home but need some help around the house or simply some company or the security of another adult in the house at night."

Noreen Grout said: "It has been a real relief not to have to worry about keeping on top of things.

"I am now more relaxed and can spend more time with my husband, just being together and helping him as he has become less able around the house. I can't recommend it highly enough."

Accommodation is available in exchange for up to 10 hours of help per week, including assistance with cooking and cleaning.

It does not include personal care and potential "homesharers" are chosen after interview and references.

Oxford Brookes University is evaluating the scheme and will publish a report in December 2009.

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