I know during lockdown many of you are fearful that you may not be reunited with your families and loved ones for the holidays as 23 million of us enter Tier 3 restrictions. However, please try to imagine if your family had disowned you, thrown you out of your home and did not want you with them at this time. That’s the story for so many of the young people akt support every year.

When I arrived at akt Angela, our senior caseworker, was the only member of staff in Manchester.  One of the first young people I saw her support was a young man I will call Kaleb who had literally hitch-hiked several hundred miles to find us. During that journey he had slept rough and suffered abuse from the people who promised him a lift. He had left a home were nobody other than his sibling showed him any love after he came out.

Angela always offers a cup of tea as part of her welcome to any young person.

That cup of tea did not just warm Kaleb physically, it was the start of a journey with akt filled with care, support and recognition - which had been denied this young person for so long in their life. From finding Kaleb a home with akt Carers, making sure they had money to travel, had clean clothes and could access mental health support to inviting them to join us at Pride the following weekend and take part in art projects as a way of meeting other young people, Angela thought about everything in helping them restore safety and self-worth to their life. I bumped into Kaleb last year at Pride and he proudly introduced his partner and then said, with eyes welling up, “this is Tim, he works with Angela, she saved my life”.

Whilst our services team’s number one priority is always finding a safe home for young people, if they have capacity, they will also strive to do everything they can to give a young person everything the start in life they deserve.

Today Angela, Dawn, Ellen, Elyssa, Hasan, Hayley, Jason, Laura, Lara, Leigh, Lewis, Lucy, Mijanou, Nathan, Trev and our volunteers are the reason I am still at akt today. The akt team are my logical family, make me so proud and are a tireless and passionate support system for so many young people like Kaleb.

As we approach the coldest time of the year, please give to our winter appeal to please help us make sure lgbtq+ young people are cared for this winter in a safe, warm home. Click here to find out more.

Please stay safe and thank you for your support.

Tim


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