William Eichler 17 February 2017

Manchester announces first LGBT care scheme for elderly

Manchester City Council has announced its ambition to create a community aimed at older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The project would be part of the city’s programme that provides high quality housing for older people, and is the first LGBT majority ‘Extra Care’ scheme in the UK.

There are more than 7,000 people in Manchester over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT and there is an expected increase of over-65s in the next two decades.

A recent LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by the council, revealed high levels of loneliness and isolation among the city’s growing older LGBT population.

It also revealed many experience and fear discrimination in existing accommodation and express a desire for affordable LGBT-specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity in later life.

This affordable housing will have a minimum 51% LGBT residents and heterosexual people will be welcome.

‘Prejudice and discrimination can be a real problem facing older LGBT people,’ said Cllr Bev Craig, the council’s lead member for LGBT women.

‘People shouldn't have to face the prospect as they get older of being surrounded by people who may not accept their sexuality or gender identity.

‘Older people should never feel isolated by who they are, or who they love.

‘Alongside improving this in general provision, it is time that we develop a scheme in Manchester that provides care for LGBT people, providing a place where the LGBT community can give each other a network of support in older age.’

Paul Martin, chief executive of LGBT Foundation, said: ‘Our research highlighted that over half of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people over 55 surveyed felt that their sexual orientation would have a negative impact on getting older, with social isolation identified as a major concern.

‘Manchester prides itself as an Age Friendly City, and we welcome the announcement of this scheme as a significant move towards improving the lives of older LGBT people in the area.’

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