Initial Research

There are currently no homes or services which offer older LGBT people specialised care in the UK, even though a recent Stonewall survey showed that 60% of older LGBT people were not confident that social care and housing services would be able to meet their needs. Despite protection against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, many older LGBT people experience and fear discrimination from care providers and residential staff. 

In fact a recent survey through the Social Care Institute for Excellence showed that 45% of LGBT respondents had experienced discrimination while using social care services.  The same survey found that only 9% of 400 care providers surveyed had carried out any equality work with staff relating to LGBT older people’s needs. Many gay men in particular do not have children to look after them in their old age and any recent government initiatives to encourage families to support the older generation will in no way be applicable to many members of the LGBT older population.


We are currently being supported in our initiative by Lebensort Vielfalt in Berlin, the only example in Europe of a specialised residential care and community centre by older LGBT people.  On a visit there we encountered ‘Rita the Ruin’ an Englishman who was in mainstream care homes in Germany, wasn’t being visited, didn’t fit in and was isolated and unhappy.  If there were similar places in the UK he would come home.

Lebensort Vielfalt opening housing project in Charlottenburg, Berlin

LGBT Older People’s Housing


The overall purpose of the research is to establish a business case for the establishment of the UK’s first LGBT older people’s housing project.

Our vision is to develop residential spaces where people from the LGBT community can grow older together with dignity, and where they are able to express themselves openly without any fear, or risk of prejudice. We also believe that homes for older people should respond more directly to what older people want- an environment where longer life experience is valued, and where they can use their skills and knowledge to the advantage of others and themselves.  

We anticipate that the intern will use desk research (online/paper review) combined with field research (surveys/mystery shopping/focus groups/observation) and may be accompanied on field visits by Geoff/Alastair/James, when appropriate.

The intern will be based at the offices of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, 2nd Floor, The Fire Station, 139 Tooley Street, London SE1 2HZ.


1.  Market overview

The anticipated market is LGBT people in the UK over 50 years of age, although this research may influence the current categorisation.

2. Competition/industry overview

Although there is seemingly no direct competition at the moment within the UK, we would like to understand better the mainstream older people’s housing industry, as well as the LGBT older people’s housing industry that exists in other parts of the world.

3.  Location

We are currently considering home/s in London and/or Brighton. We are interested in research that may either support the choice of these locations, or not:

4.  Regulations

We have limited knowledge about the regulatory frameworks that surround older people’s housing, in particular related to the provision of nursing and hospice services.

What licences and permits are required by government/industry?

5.  Costs, funding, & income generation

We are considering a variety of financial models, as well as a number of potentially innovative ways of contributing to ongoing operational costs, combined with offering relevant and stimulating activities for residents.

• Research indicative costs for development of existing building into care facility (varying sizes & locations for comparison)

• Research indicative costs for new build care facility (varying sizes & locations for comparison)

• Research & compile list of all government grants & subsidies applicable to social care & support needs of older people (50+) in UK (whether within their own homes or in residential care)

• Research & compile list of all charitable foundations which have a focus on either LGBT issues or older people (or both)

• Research & compile list of potentially relevant social finance institutions & bodies 

• Research & document examples of business incubation units which incorporate a mentoring scheme (income-generating idea No 1: to discuss in more detail with G/A/J)

• Research & document examples of short-term residential accommodation for older LGBT community worldwide (income-generating idea No 2: to discuss in more detail with G/A/J)

• Research & document examples of LGBT archive centres worldwide (income-generating idea No 3: to discuss in more detail with G/A/J)

• Research other possible income-generating ideas eg provide examples of other successful small enterprises served by/established for older people