Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) youth homeless charities the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) and Outpost Housing have anmnounced that they have merged to help meet rising demand and sustain vital services for young people.
Outpost will continue to operate in the north east and offer support and accommodation to LGBT young people at risk of homelessness. It will be re-named AKT Outpost.
The Albert Kennedy Trust will continue to offer its range of services for LGBT young people in the north west and London.
AKT Chief Executive Tim Sigsworth said: “AKT and Outpost have a lot in common and by coming together we hope to continue and enhance the level of help and support that LGBT young people at risk of homelessness receive across the north east, northwest and in London. Despite ten years of progressive legislation which has enabled young LGBT people to feel more confident to come out at an early age – the reality is that when they do they are still greeted with the same level of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia at home or school experienced 24 years ago when AKT was established by Foster Carer Cath Hall.
“Nationally we are now seeing an increase in demand for our services of around 30% and by sharing our knowledge, expertise and some of our running costswith Outpost we can ensure every penny possible goes directly to support the growing numbers of young people who need our help.”
Chair of The Albert Kennedy Trust, Samantha Days, commented: “this is a very exciting and crucial step in AKT and Outpost continuing to deliver and develop vital services for LGBT young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It will give us the opportunity to explore delivering these services on a national level and continue to alleviate the terrible circumstances some of our young people experience”.
Chair of Outpost Housing, Jim McElderry says: “Outpost has received tremendous support in recent years from local funders such as Newcastle City Council and the Northern Rock Foundation but we know if we are going to be able to protect and develop housing support services for LGBT young people in the North East we need to do more. This merger opens up new funding opportunities for us and means we can now be part of a national campaign for LGBT young people without losing our local identity.”
Sam,a young person who was helped by Outpost Housing, says: “As a young person who ran away from home in Southampton to live in Newcastle; Outpost have been amazing with supporting me with LGBT difficulties. When I heard that they have decided to merge with The Albert Kennedy Trust I was very happy and felt content, especially as it means that in the future if I decide to move from Newcastle I could still receive support and also means I can be happy wherever I live. As the charities have become national, I feel that this provides more options for young people and personalises the service for people like me.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes, says: “The voluntary sector faces some big challenges in the current climate so I commend Outpost for using the funding the council gives them to develop a long term business plan that will open up new sources of funding for their service.Newcastle City Council is absolutely committed to tackling all forms of inequality to make Newcastle a warm welcoming city for everyone regardless of their background or sexual orientation.”
If you would like to be part of helping AKT build and extend the reach of our services to more LGBT young people facing homelessness please visit www.give15.org to donate.