This month, I’d like to give you a quick review of 12 months at akt, as we all emerge from lockdown.

I am so proud of our amazing team of staff, trustee and volunteers who have worked so hard and passionately to ensure our work continued during this volatile and challenging year. The young people we have supported have also shown incredible resilience and positivity when faced with the most difficult of times. They are truly amazing. And finally, we are so very thankful for the way you have stood by and with us during the last year.

In a year when we have been forced to focus on sustaining our work within a restrictive and challenging environment, we have still managed to take the organisation forward in so many ways. In summary, this has included:

  • expanding our digital work to meet a significant growth in need and opening up to a greater geographical footprint
  • developing our youth engagement offer to provide a safe space online for young people across the country
  • significantly expanding our team, including creating a new home for people, performance and culture within akt
  • undertaking a large scale consultation internally as we plan our new five-year strategy alongside conducting ground-breaking national research akt.org.uk/report
  • building our communications footprint to reach thousands more young people and supporters
  • developing our strategic partnerships to support our work

It is hard to plan service delivery for an unprecedented and unexpected pandemic (see 1980’s AIDS crisis). However, our ability to respond quickly by upscaling our digital service, switching to almost 100% online delivery, alongside increasing capacity in the team and shifting to a national rather than regional working model were vital and inspired choices by Lucy and Hayley who lead our services at akt. This enabled us to cope with the 71% increase (based on 2019-20 data) in casework during 2020-21.

This has all been achieved against the immense mental and physical pressure placed on services team as they faced a growing and more complex and challenging caseload within the confines of their home environment.

In a world where people have been mainly confined to their homes, akt’s communications team have expanded our reach, profile and thought leadership whilst rising to the challenge of responding to events externally which have had significant impacts on the lives and mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, our team and our community. In particular the lack of access to safe accommodation and employment for young people during lockdown, the world’s acknowledgement and increased awareness of structural racism, and the attacks on trans people’s rights.

For more information, please watch out for our annual Impakt report in early autumn, which we will be including in akt Now. 

Thank you for everything you have done to support akt’s valuable work to provide safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people during this year.

Tim



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