UK’s first purpose-built LGBT+ Extra Care housing facility … David Hockney


UK’s first purpose-built LGBT+ Extra Care housing facility in Manchester moves forward  

  • Anchor Hanover Group have been chosen as the preferred development partner to deliver and manage the Extra Care homes.  
  • The site on Russell Road in Whalley Range, South Manchester is also the first LGBT+ older person’s housing project that has been co-produced with LGBT Foundation and the local community.  
  • LGBT Foundation has also received Homes England funding to produce an online Learning Journal about the history of the Manchester scheme, to help other Councils and cities develop LGBT+ Extra Care schemes across the country.  

Proposals to deliver the UK’s first purpose built and co-produced LGBT+ older person’s housing scheme have taken a significant leap forward this week as Anchor Hanover – England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for people in later life – has been chosen as preferred partner to deliver the scheme. 

The innovative project will deliver more than 100 apartments for people aged 55 or over, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures, to ensure the homes are as accessible as possible to Manchester people. 

Anchor Hanover’s Extra Care housing schemes provide residents with high-quality housing and the reassurance and flexibility of having essential on-site services, such as care and catering, which may be more appropriate to their needs in later life.  

Extra Care locations create safe, vibrant communities which enable residents to live independently as their needs and lifestyle change. 


The specific offer at the Russell Road LGBT+ Extra Care will be developed in collaboration with a local Community Steering Group – which is made up of members of the Council, Councillors, local residents and importantly members of the LGBT communities.  

Anchor Hanover has been chosen to develop the scheme following a competitive process. They were selected after demonstrating their experience in delivering similar projects across England, including New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton, and showed an ambition to create a facility that meets the needs of the city’s LGBT+ community. 

Subject to Anchor Hanover Board approval, the organisation will invest approximately £20m to develop the LGBT+ Extra Care facility. 

Anchor Hanover is committed to the local area and currently has 110 housing locations in Greater Manchester as well as a large programme of retirement developments across England. 


 The Learning Journal summarises the need for the LGBT Extra Care Scheme and how we have reached this point in its development. It is based on interviews with those involved in the project thus far and groups the lessons learned under a range of themes such as evidence of need, roles of partners and community engagement. The journal is an honest appraisal of the challenges and successes of the past, and it gives people the opportunity to share their views as the journal grows. 

Manchester’s LGBT Extra Care scheme was first announced and agreed by the Council’s executive in 2017. 

Since then, the Council has been working closely with the LGBT Foundation to develop the core principles of the scheme, how it should operate and what care should be available onsite to support LGBT+ people as they get older.  

Once the right site was acquired in Whalley Range, South Manchester (the site was formerly a Spire Hospital) the Council and LGBT Foundation have worked to develop strong relationships with the local community to help guide the scheme.  


The Community Steering Group was set up in 2020 with the aim of co-producing the principles of the scheme and agree design concepts that will complement the local area.  

In collaboration with the Community Steering Group, Anchor Hanover will develop the plans for the Russell Road site, with a view to submitting its first planning application by Winter 2021/2022. 

Manchester’s older LGBT population is growing. There are more than 7,000 people in Manchester over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT+ – and this figure is expected to rise over next two decades.    

Thanks to funding from Homes England, LGBT Foundation was able to carry out further survey of the communities’ needs and hopes for the scheme as well as creating an online Learning Journal, to track the journey of the development of the Manchester’s LGBT+ Extra Care scheme from the early discussions over five years ago. 

An LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by Manchester City Council, indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT older people, experience and fear of discrimination in existing accommodation and a desire for affordable, accessible LGBT specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity in later life. 

The Learning Journal will exist on LGBT Foundation’s website, where it will be updated by the range of stakeholders involved as the development of the scheme progresses. It is hoped that, through the journal, other regions can see what has worked and what can be done differently as they plan their own housing solutions for older LGBT people. 

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s lead member for adult health and well-being, said: 

“Manchester was proud to be the first place in the country to announce such a scheme so it’s great to see this scheme come to fruition. Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT people. 

We’ve been working closely with the LGBT Foundation and local people for some time to ensure the site, location, the principles of the scheme, and eventual design principles work – both for the LGBT+ community, but also for the local people in Whalley Range. 

We already know LGBT+ people are more likely to be lonely later in life, and as this community is growing, it shows that this Extra Care is not only welcome but absolutely needed.” 

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said:  

“Extra Care housing has proven hugely popular and the LGBT+ scheme on Russell Road will add to more than 330 apartments that will be completed for older people through to September this year. Crucial for us is that these schemes are accessible for Manchester people and we will ensure these homes will be affordable to Manchester people.” 

Anchor Hanover’s Head of New Business, Charles Taylor, said:  

“We are delighted to be working on this innovative new Extra Care retirement housing project in Manchester, to deliver accessible homes in a place where there is a thriving LGBT+ community. We look forward to collaborating with Manchester City Council and the LGBT Foundation to develop a place where people can continue to love living in later life.” 

Paul Martin OBE, CEO LGBT Foundation: 

“It’s fantastic to see the LGBT Extra Care Scheme move forward into the next stages of development. Everyone deserves to have access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel secure and welcome.  Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life. This scheme is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities and the Learning Journal will track our journey and share recommendations for other schemes that will follow.” 

Spring Cannot Be Cancelled by David Hockney and Martin Gayford – review

Lockdown blossom … a lavishly illustrated record of the exchanges between the artist, in Normandy, and the critic, in Cambridge, during the past year.

No. 599, 1 November 2020, iPad painting by David Hockney. Photograph: © David Hockney

In the autumn of 2018 David Hockney made a brief trip to France. He wanted to look at art – paintings from Picasso’s blue and rose periods and the great tapestries of Paris, Angers and Bayeux – and to enjoy “all that delicious butter and cream and cheese”. (As well as a country “more smoker friendly than mean-spirited England”.) While in Normandy Hockney declared a desire to capture the northern French spring as he had done a decade or so before in east Yorkshire, producing work that became the focal point of his blockbuster 2012 Royal Academy show. “There are more blossoms there,” he wrote to the art critic Martin Gayford. “You get apple, pear, and cherry blossom, plus the blackthorn and the hawthorn, so I am really looking forward to it.”

In impressively short order a large half-timbered farmhouse 40 minutes from Bayeux was acquired. It was a bit like “where the seven dwarfs live in the Disney film”, Hockney explained. “There are no straight lines; even the corners don’t have straight lines.” Set in four acres and surrounded by meadows, orchards and streams, it was quickly renovated and within just a few months Hockney was emailing out drawings from, and of, his new home to friends all over the world.

For someone so closely associated with his locations – the blue Californian skies and swimming pools early in his career, more recently the muddy lanes and hedgerows of the Yorkshire Wolds – Hockney rarely stays in one place for long. He has made work in China, Japan, Lebanon, Egypt, Norway and, of course, France. He lived in Paris for a couple of years in the mid-70s and, as Gayford points out, while the new house was bought, apparently, on the spur of the moment, “It was surely not entirely chance that an artist long admiring of French painting and the Gallic way of living, eating and smoking, with a French assistant, happened to find an ideal resting point just where and when he did.” It was time for a new venture.

No. 584, 31 October 2020, iPad painting by David Hockney. Photograph: © David Hockney

Gayford has been a friend and sort of Boswell to Hockney for a quarter of a century and has written two previous books that were both with and on the artist. He visited Hockney in France during the summer of 2019 and it was assumed he would return the following year. Of course that was not to be. But what had begun as one type of project soon turned into a different and larger one as Covid-19 exerted its grip. Perversely, the new restrictions on movement had presented an opportunity for Hockney. One of the selling points of the house was that he wouldn’t have to drive anywhere to find his subjects, as it was all there in the trees, streams and skies on his grounds. Now his patch of land became his sole focus, and his excitement at the arrival of the 2020 spring, one of the most abundant for decades, was palpable. “It’s spectacular,” he wrote to Gayford. “And I’m getting it down.” Instantly, in those early days of the pandemic, the work became a source of hope and solace to a fearful public with his vivid iPad paintings of landscapes and still-lifes from his garden, made as the world locked down around him, appearing on the front pages of newspapers and on the BBC news.

By now Hockney and Gayford’s conversations had moved to FaceTime, Gayford with a glass of wine in Cambridge, Hockney with a beer in Normandy, happily intrigued by the weirdly distorting light effects a dodgy wifi signal could render on the screen. This book is Gayford’s record of their exchanges placed within the context of a wider appreciation of Hockney and his work, of art history in general and of some pleasingly digressive musings on the “new things said and done by an old friend, and the thoughts and feelings they prompted in me”. Gayford artfully deploys the notion of perspective, a longstanding artistic preoccupation for Hockney, as a recurring motif when examining the men’s relationship as it evolves over time with their vantage points equally recalibrated by major events – the pandemic, Gayford having a minor heart attack in January 2020 which required a stent, as Hockney had 30 years earlier – and by small observations about gardens or sunsets or rain.

Gayford convincingly conveys Hockney’s growing enthusiasm and energy for his task. When he alluded to Noël Coward’s dictum that “work is more fun than fun”, Hockney’s rejoinder was to quote Alfred Hitchcock’s variation on the old saying “All work made Jack”. Hockney’s burst of productivity manifested itself in a constant stream of new images arriving in Gayford’s inbox ready for distanced scrutiny. Some of this work will feature in a new Royal Academy show due to open this May. Examinations of Hockney’s lines made with crayons, charcoal, pencils and the ultra-thin marks available via an iPad led Gayford to ruminations on drawings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Paintings of the garden expanded into thoughts on Monet. Mention of the work of Hockney’s support team – Hockney often says “we” rather than “I” – spilled into assistants as a sub-genre of art taking in Velázquez, Tintoretto, Rubens, Warhol and Lucian Freud.

Hockney, with Ruby, in his studio in Normandy, 25 May 2020. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima/© David Hockney

Gayford is a thoughtfully attentive critic with a capacious frame of reference and his brief excursions into houses in art, Hockney’s reading (Flaubert, Proust, Julian Barnes), his musical tastes (Wagner), and that almost definitive Hockney subject, the depiction of water – described by Hockney as always a “nice problem“ for an artist – consistently illuminate both Hockney’s work and the other artists his work brings to mind. (It should be added that the reader can see in the comprehensive illustrations almost everything Gayford mentions.)

While Picasso is the artist Hockney most often talks about, Gayford cites more often another favourite, Van Gogh, who liked to attach little sketches to his letters much like Hockney does with his emails. Living in the scruffy outskirts of Arles, and somewhat isolated as no one much liked him, Van Gogh just got on with making memorable and beautiful art with what was around him. The unprepossessing flat farmland of Hockney’s Yorkshire and now Normandy would similarly be seen as not obviously ripe locations for such close inspection, but as Gayford says, the moral is that “it is not the place that is intrinsically interesting; it is the person looking at it”. Following the spring Hockney continued to capture his four acres on through the summer and the harvest and the glimpses of autumn moons in anticipation of this year’s spring, for which he was intending to ban visitors to his home from March to May, lockdown or not.

• Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is published by Thames & Hudson.

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