Celebrating LGBT+ History Month with the Albert Kennedy Trust

In recognition of LGBT+ History Month 2022, we are celebrating Cath Hall and the life of Albert Kennedy, who inspired Cath to set up the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). We also hear from our Chief Executive, Martin Collett, who is a trustee of AKT.

AKT founder, Cath Hall

In 1989, the Albert Kennedy Trust was formed in Manchester by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, and founder member of Manchester parents’ group (MPG), who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT+ people from their family home and the homophobia they faced within school and society.

Who was Albert Kennedy?

Albert was an incredible young man who inspired AKT founder Cath Hall to set up AKT. Albert tragically died after falling from the roof of a carpark in Manchester, after experiencing homophobic abuse simply for being who he is. His loved ones remain in our thoughts always.

Our Chief Executive, Martin Collett, is a Trustee at the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) – a charity that supports LGBT+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. They support young people into safe homes and employment, education, or training, in a welcoming and open environment that celebrates LGBT+ identities.

AKT helps young people:

  • Stay safe in a crisis
  • Find emergency accommodation
  • Access specialist support
  • Develop skills, identify, and achieve life goals

Why they are needed:

Coming out, or being outed as LGBT+, can lead to young people being made homeless. 24% of homeless young people identify as LGBT+.

Once homeless, LGBT+ young people are more likely to face violence and discrimination than young people who aren’t LGBT+. They’re also more likely to develop substance misuse issues and experience sexual exploitation. This can all take a huge toll on someone’s physical and mental health.

77% of the LGBT+ young people we work with believe coming out at home was the main factor in causing their homelessness and so it’s vital that they are supported in an environment that is inclusive and celebrates their identities to improve their life outcomes.

English Rural’s Chief Executive, Martin Collett, explains how housing is a particular issue for LGBT+ people:

Martin Collett

English Rural Chief Executive, Martin Collett

“The needs of young people from the (LGBT+) community are not always understood within the mainstream. Some of the pressures that the community face are unique, quite personal and aren’t easily articulated.  For LGBT+ young people, being able to explain their circumstances to housing options and support services can be difficult, even uncomfortable. Their circumstances can be complex and not easily accommodated in the decisions that are made on their behalf. One of the things that the Albert Kennedy Trust advocates is that the needs of the LGBT+ community are better understood by those offering youth homelessness support services.”

Martin explains how LGBT+ homelessness in rural areas is a particular issue:

“AKT are principally a metropolitan focused charity with offices based in London, Manchester, and Newcastle, but they have regional and digital ambitions, and this includes reaching into rural areas. One of the things I always say is that there is a misconception about rural areas, that everything is fine – it might look like that, but in many cases it’s a veneer, and if you look behind the door you find there are plenty of problems going on that are hidden because services or support simply isn’t available to help. Often problems around young LGBT+ people aren’t seen or addressed at all in rural areas.”

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