The UK’s first retirement community celebrating LGBT+ people is set to open in London later in 2021 after securing a £5.7 million loan from the Mayor of London.
Tonic Housing has used the loan to purchase 19 flats at Bankhouse in Vauxhall which will be available to buy on a shared-ownership basis in late spring, with the first residents expected to be moved in by mid-summer.
The one and two-bedroom apartments will be coupled with care, events and activities which the housing association says will “celebrate LGBT identities”, working with established LGBT organisations and support providers.
Tonic Housing said services will be “genuinely affirming of the lives, histories, needs and desires of LGBT+ people”, adding this “does not imply exclusion of those who do not identify as LGBT but actively values those who respect and celebrate LGBT+ people”.
Bankhouse, run by One Housing, is an assisted living facility designed by renowned architect Norman Foster which overlooks the River Thames and features an on-site restaurant, floating garden and roof terrace.
Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is “delighted” and “proud” to be helping to open the facility.
“London is an open, diverse, inclusive city and I’m delighted to see these long-held plans come to fruition with the help of this loan and my Community-led Housing Hub,” said Mr Khan.
“Older Londoners deserve to be able to enjoy their later years in comfort and security, surrounded by a thriving, supportive community.
“I look forward to seeing this realised at Bankhouse and to supporting Tonic’s work to establish further LGBTQ+ affirming developments in the years to come.”
Tonic Housing CEO Anna Kear has said the facility will be the first of many LGBT-friendly retirement communities they plan to open in the UK.
"UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community given green light to open in 2021."
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“We are making history today, realising a long-held dream to provide a safe place for older LGBT+ people to live well, in a community where they can be themselves and enjoy their later life,” said Ms Kear.
“We applaud the Mayor of London for recognising and supporting the needs of older LGBT+ Londoners.
“We intend this to be the first of many Tonic retirement communities, achieved by working in partnership in London and other cities.
“We’re so excited to get our future residents settled in their new homes and living in our community.”