Tonic Housing will open the first LGBTQ+ affirming retirement community in the UK after securing a £5.7 million loan from the mayor of London.
The housing association has received the allowance from Sadiq Khan as part of his Community Housing Fund to purchase 19 homes within Bankhouse, an assisted living scheme in Lambeth developed by One Housing.
Tonic was established in 2014 to address the issues of loneliness and isolation of older LGBTQ+ people in the UK with accommodation and safe social spaces, as well as “culturally appropriate services”.
Although non-LGBTQ+ people are not excluded from the programme, Tonic’s mission statement is to respect and celebrate those who do identify under the queer umbrella.
Following production this spring, residents will be expected to move into the properties this summer. They will be made available through the Older Persons Shared Ownership scheme, which allows buyers to purchase between 25% and 75% of the property.
Anna Kear, chief executive of Tonic Housing, said: “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.
“We applaud the mayor of London for recognising and supporting the needs of older LGBT+ Londoners.”
Kear said it’s intended to be “the first of many Tonic retirement communities,” and future schemes will “provide a range of tenures directly, created through further acquisitions of new developments.”
“Bankhouse is an important milestone in Tonic’s evolution,” she added.
“We’re so excited to get our future residents settled in their new homes and living in our community. Moving in is just the beginning!”
Khan said he’s proud to support Tonic in “creating the UK’s first LGBTQ+ retirement community” because London is an “open, diverse inclusive city”.
“I’m delighted to see these long-held plans come to fruition with the help of this loan and my Community-Led Housing Hub,” he continued.
Richard Hill, chief executive at One Housing, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Tonic Housing and the [Greater London Authority] to provide homes for older LGBT+ people.
“We have a long history of investing in homes and communities and providing assisted living to older people.
“We look forward to welcoming new LGBT+ customers to Bankhouse, where they’ll be able to enjoy all the advantages of independent living with on-site care and support when they need it.”
"UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community given green light to open in 2021."
We are proud to announce that we will soon be opening the UK’s first LGBT+ affirming retirement community after securing a £5.7m loan from the @MayorofLondon.
— Tonic Housing 🌈🏘️ (@tonichousing) March 2, 2021