22 September 2021

Bankhouse, Vauxhall, now houses the country’s first retirement community that celebrates LGBTQ+ people as it officially opened yesterday when Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cut the ribbon.

The 19 flats that overlook the River Thames in central London were bought by Tonic Housing with a £5.7m loan from the Mayor's Community Housing Fund and are available at affordable rates on a shared-ownership basis.

Residents will benefit from a 24/7 emergency staff cover and are expected to move into the development in the coming weeks or months.

At the launch, the Mayor told Attitude he was “proud” to be in attendance, saying: “Everyone’s worked really hard and deserves huge credit. Success has many parents and I’ve met some of them today. What I find hard to believe is that in 2021 this is the first LGBT+ retirement community [in the UK].”

He added: “I’m hoping this project is a massive, massive success and I’m hoping, not just other parts of London, but other parts of the country have LGBT+ retirement communities.

"Because it’s really important, particularly for some people - and let’s be frank, and I don’t want to sound morbid – but this could be their last home before they pass away. They can live in dignity.”

There has been growing interest in retirement homes aimed specifically at LGBTQ+ communities. A survey this year revealed that some older people and some of those in care homes felt that they could not be open about being LGBTQ+.

Speaking to Attitude about the project, CEO of Tonic Housing Anna Kear described the care system as “not friendly”, with many older members of the LGBTQ+ community having to navigate it on their own due to been ostracised by their families or not having had any children because this was not allowed

in the past.

She said: “Our community elders went through a horrific time, from the days when it was a criminal offense to be gay.” And added: “[This is for] the people who fought for our rights.”

The Mayor later tweeted, describing the initiative as “groundbreaking” and adding: “[This is] a major milestone for LGBTQ+ housing, and for London as a truly open, diverse, and inclusive city.”

Source: MyLondon