Numerous reservations have already been made, affirming its life-changing potential for generations of elderly LGBTQIA+ people to come
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY TIM BODDY
In exciting news, Tonic Housing has launched the UK’s first LGBTQIA+ retirement community, Tonic@Bankhouse, in partnership with One Housing. Taking place on 20 September, the launch was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party at LGBTQIA+ bar and theatre Above The Stag, featuring performances from DJ collective Queer House Party and drag performer Soroya Marchelle.
The launch of Tonic@Bankhouse was truly celebratory, with attendance from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Deputy Mayor for Housing Tom Copley, Labour MP for Vauxhall Florence Eshalomi, and CEO of One Housing Richard Hill.
LGBTQIA+ people often have different needs in retirement than their straight counterparts. Many are forced back into the closet when accessing care or housing, and Tonic@Bankhouse exists to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people are supported later in life.
Tonic Housing announced its plans to introduce the UK’s first LGBTQIA+ retirement community in March 2021 after securing a £5.7 million loan from the Mayor of London. With support from the GLA Community Housing Fund, it secured the purchase of nineteen properties at Bankhouse, an existing One Housing older living scheme in Lambeth.
Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing, said: “I’m delighted that we were finally able to celebrate this momentous achievement and I’m so proud to be the CEO of Tonic. There has been recognition from within our community of the need to provide choice in housing and care for our elders since at least 1994 when Polari Housing Association was formed, with similar objectives to Tonic. Achieving this vision has been a long journey, and thanks to support from the Mayor of London and our partnership with One Housing, we have been able to make this project a reality”.
Tonic@Bankhouse’s first residents are set to move in by the end of the year. Numerous reservations have already been made, affirming its life-changing potential for generations of elderly LGBTQIA+ people to come.
Know someone that might be interested? Registrations can be made here.
DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.