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Albert Kennedy Trust

akt.org.uk

Founded Year

1989

About Albert Kennedy Trust

Albert Kennedy Trust operates as a non-profit organization. The organization offers training, consultancy, and other related services to LGBTQ. The company is based in London, England.

Headquarters Location

19 Parr St

London, England, N1 6NG,

United Kingdom

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Latest Albert Kennedy Trust News

The place that makes sure that no young LGBTQ+ person is alone on the streets of Manchester

Oct 9, 2021

The place that makes sure that no young LGBTQ+ person is alone on the streets of Manchester The LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt has opened a new centre to support people in the city centre The charity akt aims to make sure that every young LGBTQ person has a place to call home (Image: ABNM Photography) The weekly email brings you all the latest news from the LGBTQ+ community plus exclusive interviews direct to your inbox Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later. Sign Up We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info Thank you for subscribingWe have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice There's a place tucked away in the city centre that makes sure that no young LGBTQ+ person is alone on the streets of Manchester. It's a job that akt, the UK's leading LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, has been doing since it was first founded in the city back in the 80s; helping young people who have faced rejection find safe accommodation. But, until now, it was tucked away on a single floor and young people accessing the service had little more than a reception to go to. It has now officially opened its new services centre and youth space at Oak Street, in the heart of the Northern Quarter. akt's new services space in the heart of Manchester (Image: ABNM Photography) Over three floors, the new akt base provides young LGBTQ+ people with the help and support they need to find housing or emergency accommodation. But it does more than that. It has desk space, wifi, meeting rooms. The space and facilities for young people to help themselves; together with the support of the charity. Read More Related Articles And, perhaps most importantly, it will provide a communal safe space. If young LGBTQ+ people in Manchester don't have a place to call home - here they have what feels like a their own flat. The new space is designed to give young people the support they need to live independently (Image: ABNM Photography) For Tim Sigsworth, the CEO of akt, things have come full circle. Originally from Bury, he moved to the city of Manchester in the 80s for university. "I didn't have a supportive mum growing up," he said. "For me it was about getting out of home and finding a future for myself. I went to university as a way of running away," he said. It was during this time that he first came into contact with akt - then known as The Albert Kennedy Trust. Tim Sigsworth, CEO of akt (Image: ABNM Photography) He saw workers from the charity supporting and helping the people around him, but at the time, he didn't know how to get involved. He trained as a social worker and 20 years ago he made the move to working for LGBTQ+ charities. "It's nice to come back to akt and do what they did for my friends," he said. Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is a key priority for the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who cut the ribbon on the new centre. He admitted that when he first set out to tackle homelessness in the city four years ago he was unaware of ‘just how many’ homeless people are young and LGBTQ+. Tim Sigsworth, CEO of akt, with Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham at the official opening of the new space (Image: ABNM Photography) “It was a surprise to me. I didn’t realise how many people are not supported,” he said, speaking to the Manchester Evening News. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here The mayor said that young people being rejected by their families or finding themselves in abusive situations are huge driving factors. These issues were included in akt’s latest piece of research, the LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report , which Mr Burnham called ‘challenging reading’. The report surveyed and interviewed LGBTQ+ young people who had experienced homelessness in the UK within the last five years while aged between 16 and 25. There's desk space for young people to find work and accommodation (Image: ABNM Photography) Some of the findings include that 61 per cent felt frightened or threatened by a family member prior to becoming homeless and that one in six LGBT+ young people were forced to do sexual acts with a family member or partner prior to becoming homeless. Mr Burnham also spoke of the ‘influx’ in young people ending up on the streets as a result of the pandemic. Lockdown saw a huge surge in young LGBTQ+ people rough sleeping in Manchester - with the charity akt supporting five times the number of people in 2020 compared to 2019. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham with Hayley Speed, akt's assistant director of service (Image: ABNM Photography) Factors contributing to the rise included people finding themselves in lockdown with unaccepting parents or being unable to continue sofa surfing. Manchester akt also gave one-to-one case work support to 171 young people in 2020. That's a 118 per cent increase from the previous year. The mayor said that akt is a ‘massive partner’ and that he values the charity’s personal approach to tackling homelessness Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (Image: ABNM Photography) “If we are to get serious we have to get better at that whole person support,” he said. “What makes the difference is the personal support. The one-to-ones, the advice, the mentoring. It’s something that we know tackles homelessness. It’s more than bricks and mortar.” “Giving young people who have been wronged a sense of belonging and being kind and considerate. You can’t put a price on these things,” he added. Inside the new building (Image: ABNM Photography) akt was founded at a time when CEO Tim recalls being 'petrified' about leaving nightclubs in the gay village out of fear that he'd be beaten up. "Nobody was there to protect us back in the 80s," he said. He said that Manchester has always been a 'special and inclusive space' but that things were particularly difficult during the time of Section 28. "You couldn't be a passive member of the community," he said. "Our identities were politicised and therefore we had to be politicised." Cath Hall, who founded akt in Manchester in 1989 (Image: ABNM Photography) This atmosphere meant that no LGBTQ+ person could set up a charity like akt themselves. "It would be seen as corrupting young people," he said. It is all thanks to one woman, Cath Hall, that akt exists today. As an experienced foster carer, Cath become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBTQ+ people from their family homes. Having already founded the Manchester Parents Group - Cath set up the akt in 1989. The ground floor of the new akt building (Image: ABNM Photography) She was inspired by Albert Kennedy - a young man who tragically died after falling from the roof of a carpark in Manchester, having experiencing homophobic abuse. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here As much as akt is a safe space for young LGBTQ+ people - there's no rainbows to be seen on the outside of its new centre - and it sits apart from the Gay Village. That's because charity deals with the most vulnerable of LGBTQ+ people, people who may not be able express themselves publicly. The official opening of akt's new services space (Image: ABNM Photography) "We can't put a pride flag on our building," Tim said. "A young person might not be out and they'd feel nervous about coming. Even in 2021." To find out about the services available from akt in Manchester and online, click here .

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Albert Kennedy Trust Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was Albert Kennedy Trust founded?

    Albert Kennedy Trust was founded in 1989.

  • Where is Albert Kennedy Trust's headquarters?

    Albert Kennedy Trust's headquarters is located at 19 Parr St, London.

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