The Trust is named after Albert Kennedy, a 16-year-old children’s home runaway from Manchester who died after falling from a car park roof in the City centre, while being chased by several attackers in a car. 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 LGBT young people in her care.
As a result, the Albert Kennedy Trust was formed, aiming to meet the individual needs of each young person and ensure they are set back on track in life, they support several hundred young people every year who have experienced domestic violence or have been ejected from home just for being brave enough to come out as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans to their parents or care giver.
Currently working in Greater London and Greater Manchester, The Albert Kennedy Trust offer safe and supportive homes with LGBT carers, and provide a more informal support through mentoring and befriending. Support is also available by phone, face to face or email. The trust also teaches independent living skills for young people through their accredited training programme and provides a help in crisis through their Emergency Support Project, and help young people fund more permanent homing through their Rainbow Starter Pack.
Despite the many vulnerabilities of young LGBT people, AKT’s experience is that it’s possible, with work, care and understanding, to support them to independence and empowerment, and our young people continue to inspire us by their courage and resilience.
We run an established supported lodging scheme, principally for 16-19 year olds, which provides LGBT carers and a safe and supportive home. We have a strong base of mentors who work with young people to help them achieve independence and rebuild family relationships, and our staff team provides advice and advocacy for young people, many of whom experience homophobia from staff or service users in mainstream housing support settings. Our volunteering and life skills training programme offers opportunities to the young people to resume control of their lives with support from us in accessing education, employment and training – and to work towards the futures they want.
HOW YOU CAN HELP AKT:
- Become a carer for our Supported Lodgings Scheme
We are always looking for people who have a spare room and can welcome a young LGBT person into your household. You can contact the services team by calling Greater London on 020 7831 6562 or Manchester on 0161 228 3308.
- Make a donation to AKT
It costs as little as £15 to provide a night off the streets to a young LGBT person in crisis. Please consider making a regular or one-off donation towards our vital work.
- Help to spread the word
Without support from the public, many of our services may not be able to continue so please help us to spread the word so that we can reach out to as many people as possible.
When I was 16, my family relocated to the UK to escape the racism we faced elsewhere in Europe. My parents are religious people and as a son I was expected to help discipline my sisters, and was beaten when I refused to join my father in being violent to them.
I didn’t come out to my parents myself: my sister told them I was gay, and that was when my real problems started. My parents would not accept my sexuality. They threatened and punished me. They told me I had to give up being who I was or they would make sure that I lived a worthless life.
I tried to get help from social services and the police, but they spoke to my parents and believed the lies they told them. Finally my parents threatened to send me to Nigeria for a ‘cure’. I was so frightened I left home as soon as I could and found a place to crash. It was when I joined an LGBT youth group that I was referred to the Albert Kennedy Trust.
AKT knew I was entitled to support from the start and even gave me some clothes and money for food, as I had nothing. Help from Social services was limited and the benefits office refused my claims as they said I hadn’t been in the UK long enough. Finally, I was given a place to stay.
On my 18th birthday, Social Services withdrew all their support, including my rent. I was given a notice to move out, and they told me to return home, leave college or find a job. AKT found a lawyer who carried on arguing my case for social services to keep supporting me. They also gave me money for food and travel. AKT and some teachers from my college supported me. I was then assigned an AKT Mentor who helped me deal with everything that was going on.
The last two months have been a roller coaster. I was offered a conditional place at a top university to study law but even though I was awarded 3 A’s at A-Level, they refused me a place as I didn’t get an A*.
Fortunately, Petra, from the Services team, called the University and explained my situation and they were overwhelmed that I had been through so much and still came out with 3 A grade A-Levels.
Not only did they reverse their decision and award me a place but they also offered me a three year scholarship. I started my course last week and I love it. I know it will be hard work but it will be worth it.
When I graduate, I would like to become a Human Rights Lawyer and help young people like myself.
I can’t thank the Albert Kennedy Trust enough for everything they have done. They have not only kept me off the streets and given me a mentor and have helped me to secure my future’.
To help people like Barak or if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us:
London – 020 7831 6562
Manchester – 0161 228 3308