Russell Road in Whalley Range has been confirmed as the location for the UK’s first Extra Care scheme designed for older LGBT people.
Manchester has for many years been a champion of LGBT rights and has a proud history of pioneering support for the community.
In 2013, the City Council commissioned research through the LGBT Foundation that indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT older people, and a lack of specific affordable accommodation where they can be open about their identity later in life.
Manchester’s LGBT population is growing and more than 7,000 people over the age of 50 identify as LGBT across the city. The number of LGBT people over the age of 65 is expected to rise significantly in the next 20 years.
These pioneers have faced discrimination during their lifetimes and although society has become more LGBT friendly, discrimination does still exist.
Following planning approvals, the key site in in the heart of the Whalley Range community in South Manchester will include around 77 Extra Care properties – half for affordable rent and half for outright sale. Although designed to support the care needs of older LGBT people, the scheme will be open to anyone aged 55 and over.
Whalley Range was chosen due to its vibrant and diverse community, with good local amenities. Bringing an Extra Care facility to the site will attract a stable group of new residents who will add to and benefit the community, while the development will look to enhance the neighbourhood without impacting on the area’s conservation status.
A demolition application for the former Spire Hospital at the chosen site will be submitted mid-December following an initial consultation event with local people held this week. A full planning application for the proposed scheme will be submitted next year, following consultation with the LGBT and local communities.
The Russell Road scheme is one of several Extra Care schemes planned across the city that will deliver almost 500 homes in the next three years, providing high quality housing for older people while freeing up social or family housing elsewhere in the city.
The Russell Road site will also accommodate around 12 family homes for general sale to help meet demand for quality family housing in the area.
The Extra Care properties will remain affordable to Manchester people and will be supported by well-trained and experienced staff. Pets will also be welcome at the scheme.