UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community given green light to open in 2021

doctor holding hand of older person

The UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community has been given the green light to open in London this year.

Tonic Housing has been awarded a £5.7m loan from the mayor of London to purchase 19 properties in Vauxhall, Lambeth.

This will become the UK‘s first provider of queer-affirming housing for older LGBT+ people. Sales for the property are due to start in the spring with residents expected to begin moving in this summer.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said he is proud to support Tonic in creating the UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community through the Greater London Authority’s Community Housing Fund.

“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,” he said.

Khan added that he looks forward to seeing and supporting Tonic’s work to establish further LGBT+ developments in “the years to come”.

“Older Londoners deserve to be able to enjoy their later years in comfort and security, surrounded by a thriving, supportive community.”

Tonic at Bankhouse LGBT+ retirement community

Images of the UK’s first LGBT+ retirement community Tonic@Bankhouse from the outside. (Tonic Housing)

London LGBT+ retirement community hopes to be ‘first of many’

Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing, said the organisation is “making history” by “realising a long-held dream” in providing a “safe place for LGBT+ people to live well in a community where they can be themselves and enjoy their later years”.

Kear promised the London project will be the “first of many” retirement communities, “achieved by working in partnership with London and other cities”.

The retirement community – known as Tonic@Bankhouse – will create and host events and activities with residents based on their interests, including collaborations with other LGBT+ organisations and support providers. And all Bankhouse staff will have LGBT+-focused training.

Councillor Jack Hopkins, leader of Lambeth Council, said he is “delighted” to see “such an innovative and positive” development for older LGBT+ people happening in Lambeth.

He said: “Our borough is one that is truly diverse – we are really fortunate to have such a strong and thriving LGBTQ+ community living, working and visiting Lambeth.”