Contractor picked for £20m LGBT+ extra care scheme

Not-for-profit housing provider Anchor Hanover has been chosen to deliver what is billed as the UK’s first purpose-built LGBT+ housing scheme for older people, comprising 100 units on Russell Road in Whalley Range, Manchester. 

The homes will be aimed at people aged 55 or over, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures. 

The Manchester City Council-owned site was previously occupied by a Spire hospital that was demolished in 2019. Plans to create an LGBT extra care scheme have been in the pipeline since 2017. 

The council selected Anchor Hanover to redevelop the plot after a tender process. The housing provider has previous experience with similar projects, including New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton. 

Subject to board approval, Anchor Hanover is to invest approximately £20m to develop the Russell Road facility and a planning application for the project is due to be submitted next winter, it said this week. 

A community steering group, featuring Manchester City Council representatives, local residents and the LGBT Foundation, was set up in 2020 with the aim of co-producing the principles of the scheme and agreeing design concepts that will complement the local area.    

The scheme is designed to meet the needs of Manchester’s older LGBT+ population, and combat loneliness within the LGBT+ community. 

An LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by Manchester City Council, indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation among LGBT+ older people. 

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 it to fruition. Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT+ people.  

“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.”   

Paul Martin OBE, chief executive of LGBT Foundation, said: “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.” 

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