The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) is a charity helping young LGBT people who are either homeless or living in a hostile environment. 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of AKT, which covers the Greater Manchester and Greater London areas.
Tim Sigsworth, the Chief Executive, explained that the need for AKT remains as great as ever. “When I tell people what I do for a living people often say to me, ‘Surely parents don’t reject their children for being gay these days?’ Sadly though, they do. In many ways, things are worse now as young people perceive it will be okay to tell their parents – so they often come out at a younger age. Because homophobic prejudice is still so rife in society, many of these people facing a harsh reality when, instead of support, they have to suffer hostility, abuse and bullying from family and peers. Last year AKT received 1400 calls regarding young people at risk of homelessness,” said Tim, “and we know that if you spend three months on the streets, in all likelihood you will be on the streets for life.”
At the January 2009 Alberts, the AKT’s annual award ceremony that honours its supporters, patron Sir Ian McKellen reminded the audience that even after 12 years of positive LGBT legislation, homophobic prejudices remain: “Part of the problem is that the government now thinks it has done enough, and organisations like AKT have to pick up the pieces as a result.”
AKT enters 2009 with a new logo, and new website coming soon at www.akt.org.uk. It is also undertaking a series of new initiatives. The ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders programme’ is an accredited volunteering and training programme. It will ensure those it trains will have the skills and self worth to secure employment, return to education and sustain a tenancy.
The charity is named after Albert Kennedy, who fell to his death from the top of a car park in Manchester in 1989 whilst trying to escape a gang of ‘queerbashers’. Albert was a runaway from a children’s home in Salford and was depressed. His short tragic life had been filled with rejection and abuse. Manchester’s gay community was moved into action by the Trust’s founder patron Cath Hall, a foster carer who admitted she could not meet the full range of needs of gay and lesbian young people coming through her care.
AKT provide key services:
- Safe and supportive homes with LGBT Carers through the Supported Lodgings Scheme
- Help for young people to build a positive independent future through mentoring & befriending;
- Advice information and support by phone, face to face or email, to help young people achieve their own tenancy, employment, training or return to education;
- Training to ensure other services can provide gay friendly support through AKT’s Quality Assurance Tool.
IF YOU ARE A YOUNG LGBT PERSON AND NEED HELP
email: Albert Kennedy Trust
LONDON: 020 7831 6562
MANCHESTER: 0161 228 3308
To support the work of AKT please donate online at
To volunteer call 020 7831 6562 or visit www.akt.org.uk