Up until now, there has been no LGBT+ affirming housing in the UK, despite the LGBT+ Community stressing the importance of one. Whilst other plans have been made by housing companies to open such housing, including several in Manchester, none have yet taken off.
However, today history is made as Tonic Housing confirm that the UK’s first LGBT+ Retirement Housing will open this year in London.
This change is made possible after Tonic secured a £5.7m loan from the GLA Community Housing fund thanks to Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. ‘Older Londoners deserve to be able to enjoy their later years in comfort and security, surrounded by a thriving, supportive community,' he said.
CEO of Tonic Housing, Anna Kear added: ‘We make history today, realising a long-held dream to provide a safe place for older LGBT+ people to live well. We applaud the Mayor of London for recognising and supporting the needs of older LGBT+ Londoners.’
Bankhouse, the name of the new LGBT+ Housing development, is situated in Vauxhall, South East London and according to Tonic homes will be available in late Spring this year. The new housing will offer shared ownerships and homes to rent.
The development of 19 properties will offer one and two-bedroom homes for the community with on-site, round-the-clock care available. It also features a floating garden, roof terrace, launderette, on-site restaurant and spa room; and activities and the developers claim events will be organised according to the needs of the residents and in line with the wider LGBT+ Community. Tonic’s stated objective for Bankhouse is to affirm and celebrate the lives, histories, needs and desires of the LGBT+ Community.
London is an open, diverse and thriving city, so Tonic choosing it for their first LGBT+ Retirement Community makes a lot of sense. Whilst this is an exciting step, the company intend to create more residences going forward, insisting Bankhouse is just the beginning for them.
After plans were made to put into place an LGBT+ affirmative care scheme in Manchester, Bob Green of LGBT Foundation visited similar schemes in USA, including one in Philadelphia where many residents claiming they felt as though it was the first place they’d felt at home.
Hopefully, Bankhouse can offer the same sense of safety, comfort and belonging.
LGBT+ Retirement communities in Stockholm, Sweden and Southern France have also been set up successfully and also provide a feeling of liveliness and warmth that would seem perfect for older members of the LGBT+ Community, especially after the struggles of lockdown.
Tonic intend to create further communities upon the completion of Bankhouse and are inviting all interested parties to register interest with them for feedback they insist will be considered in any future plans.
Further information regarding the development and to register interest visit: https://tinyurl.com/tonichousing