Proposals to deliver the UK’s first purpose built and co-produced LGBT+ older person’s housing scheme are moving forward as Anchor Hanover has been chosen as preferred partner to deliver the scheme.
The innovative project will deliver more than 100 apartments for people aged 55 or over, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures, to ensure the homes are as accessible as possible to Manchester people.
Anchor Hanover’s Extra Care housing schemes provide residents with high-quality housing and the reassurance and flexibility of having essential on-site services, such as care and catering, which may be more appropriate to their needs in later life.
Extra Care locations create safe, vibrant communities which enable residents to live independently as their needs and lifestyle change.
The specific offer at the Russell Road LGBT+ Extra Care will be developed in collaboration with a local Community Steering Group – which is made up of members of the Council, Councillors, local residents and importantly members of the LGBT communities.
Anchor Hanover has been chosen to develop the scheme following a competitive process. They were selected after demonstrating their experience in delivering similar projects across England, including New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton, and showed an ambition to create a facility that meets the needs of the city’s LGBT+ community.
Subject to Anchor Hanover Board approval, the organisation will invest approximately £20m to develop the LGBT+ Extra Care facility.
Anchor Hanover is committed to the local area and currently has 110 housing locations in Greater Manchester as well as a large programme of retirement developments across England.
Manchester’s LGBT Extra Care scheme was first announced and agreed by the Council’s executive in 2017.
Since then, the Council has been working closely with the LGBT Foundation to develop the core principles of the scheme, how it should operate and what care should be available onsite to support LGBT+ people as they get older.
Once the right site was acquired in Whalley Range, South Manchester (the site was formerly a Spire Hospital) the Council and LGBT Foundation have worked to develop strong relationships with the local community to help guide the scheme.
The Community Steering Group was set up in 2020 with the aim of co-producing the principles of the scheme and agree design concepts that will complement the local area.
In collaboration with the Community Steering Group, Anchor Hanover will develop the plans for the Russell Road site, with a view to submitting its first planning application by Winter 2021/2022.
Manchester’s older LGBT population is growing. There are more than 7,000 people in Manchester over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT+ - and this figure is expected to rise over next two decades.
An LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by Manchester City Council, indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT older people, experience and fear of discrimination in existing accommodation and a desire for affordable, accessible LGBT specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity in later life.
Thanks to funding from Homes England, LGBT Foundation was able to carry out further survey of the communities’ needs and hopes for the scheme as well as creating an online Learning Journal, to track the journey of the development of the Manchester’s LGBT+ Extra Care scheme from the early discussions over five years ago.
The Learning Journal summarises the need for the LGBT Extra Care Scheme and how we have reached this point in its development. It is based on interviews with those involved in the project thus far and groups the lessons learned under a range of themes such as evidence of need, roles of partners and community engagement. The journal is an honest appraisal of the challenges and successes of the past, and it gives people the opportunity to share their views as the journal grows.
The Learning Journal will exist on LGBT Foundation’s website, where it will be updated by the range of stakeholders involved as the development of the scheme progresses. It is hoped that, through the journal, other regions can see what has worked and what can be done differently as they plan their own housing solutions for older LGBT people.
Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s lead member for adult health and well-being, 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.”
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said:
“Extra Care housing has proven hugely popular and this first of a kind LGBT+ scheme on Russell Road is an important addition to our Extra Care offer in the city. This scheme is part of a programme of 730 extra care homes built in the past few years for older people in the city. Crucial for us is that these schemes are accessible to and affordable for Manchester people.”
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 LGBT Foundation:
“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.”