Manchester progresses UK’s first purpose-built LGBT+ extra care scheme

Manchester City Council has chosen Anchor Hanover to deliver the scheme of over 100 apartments for LGBT+ over-55s in Whalley Range.
The site of the new LGBT+ extra care scheme in Whalley Range, Manchester.

Manchester City Council has moved forward its plans to create the UK’s first purpose-built LGBT+ extra care housing scheme by appointing Anchor Hanover to deliver the scheme.

The LGBT+ extra care housing scheme, first announced by the council in 2017, will deliver over 100 apartments for people aged 55 and over with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures.

The facility will be delivered on the site of a former private hospital on Russell Road in Whalley Range, in collaboration with a local steering group made up of councillors, local residents and members of the LGBT community.

Anchor Hanover, England’s largest provider of specialist housing and care for older people, has been chosen to deliver the scheme following a competitive process. The provider currently has 110 housing locations in Greater Manchester.

The council said it chose Anchor Hanover due to the provider’s experience in delivering similar projects across England, such as New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton.

Subject to approval by Anchor Hanover’s board, the organisartion will invest around £20 million to develop the extra care facility.

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s lead member for adult health and wellbeing, said: “Manchester was proud to be the first place in the country to announce such a scheme so it’s great to see this scheme come to fruition. Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT people.

“We’ve been working closely with the LGBT Foundation and local people for some time to ensure the site, location, the principles of the scheme, and eventual design principles work – both for the LGBT+ community, but also for the local people in Whalley Range. 

“We already know LGBT+ people are more likely to be lonely later in life, and as this community is growing, it shows that this extra care is not only welcome but absolutely needed.” 

Manchester has a growing population of LGBT+ older people, with over 7,000 people in the city over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT+. This figure is expected to rise over the next two decades.

A recent LGBT Foundation report commissioned by the council found that LGBT+ older people face high levels of loneliness and isolation. Many have experienced or fear discrminination in existing older people’s housing, and desire affordable, accessible LGBT-specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity.

Since acquiring the site, the council has been working with the LGBT Foundation to develop the principles of the scheme and build relationships with the local community, setting up the community steering group last year.

The LGBT Foundation has created an online Learning Journal to track the development of the scheme, which it hopes will help other regions plan their own housing solutions for older LGBT+ people.

Anchor Hanover will develop the plans for the site in collaboration with the steering group, with a view to submitting its first planning application by winter 2021/2022.

Anchor Hanover’s head of new business, Charles Taylor, said: “We are delighted to be working on this innovative new extra care retirement housing project in Manchester, to deliver accessible homes in a place where there is a thriving LGBT+ community.

“We look forward to collaborating with Manchester City Council and the LGBT Foundation to develop a place where people can continue to love living in later life.”

Paul Martin OBE, CEO of the LGBT Foundation, added: “It’s fantastic to see the LGBT extra care scheme move forward into the next stages of development. Everyone deserves to have access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel secure and welcome. 

“Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life. This scheme is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities and the Learning Journal will track our journey and share recommendations for other schemes that will follow.” 

Manchester City Council’s latest announcement about its scheme comes after Tonic Housing set out its plans to open its own LGBT+ retirement community in London.

The housing association has secured a £5.7 million loan from the Greater London Assembly to purchase 19 properties at Bankhouse, a One Housing independent living scheme in Vauxhall, Lambeth.

The homes will be made available for shared ownership and are expected to welcome their first residents in summer 2021.

Image: The site of the new LGBT+ extra care scheme in Whalley Range, Manchester. Credit: Google Street View

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