At akt it’s vital that young people and their needs are at the centre of what we do and the decisions we make, in particular young people with lived experience of homelessness. This is one reason our Youth Engagement Programme is so vital to our work.

Next month, we're thrilled to welcome Faz to join the Board of Trustees! Faz accessed akt’s services back in 2016, and since then has taken on the role of Young Ambassador and most recently, President of akt.

We know that his skills, passion and experience will help akt to continue steering in the right direction.

For those who haven’t met Faz at one of our events or through our work, we caught up with him this week so you could hear a little bit more about how he got involved in akt’s work and his hopes for akt when joining the Board of Trustees.

akt: How did you initially become involved at akt?

Faz: I was referred to the Purple Door Project (akt’s safe house for young people facing homelessness) in March 2016 when I was homeless, and by June 2016, I undertook my first role as a Young Ambassador for akt where I went to Camp Lightbulb in America and since have been involved with a range of opportunities with the charity. That includes speaking at its Gala Dinner event, meeting HRH Duke of Cambridge when he came to the offices, and working with some brilliant and inspiring young people 

akt: What do you hope to bring to your role as a Trustee at akt?

Faz: What I hope to bring in my role as a Trustee is to ensure there is a platform and support for the voices of our young people. And to ensure that the voices of young people are heard at all levels, putting their personal experiences at the forefront of every platform. I also hope to diversify the board and ensure the board will actively recruit more diversely to reflect our young people and their experiences.

It's also really important for me to help ensure that akt continues to understand and provide specific support to marginalised groups within their demographic: including trans people and people of colour. Recent events have only emphasised the additional hatred and hurdles facing these groups, in particular trans people of colour, and I think all LGBTQ+ organisations have a duty to ensure they are responding to that authentically and impactfully.

akt: What do you think are the most immediate challenges for vulnerable young LGBTQ+ people during the current pandemic? 

Faz: Living in hostile environments during the lockdown will inevitably have impacted young people’s mental health, in addition to the financial impact of COVID-19 making lots of people homeless or struggling with housing.For people with intersecting identities, for example young trans people of colour, there are additional hurdles and barriers they face i.e. racism while trying to access housing during lockdown.

akt: What has been the most positive impact of your time with akt?

Faz: Being able to meet young people and raise awareness among them, and others, about important LGBTQ+ issues. I’ve also found it brilliant to be able to learn from other people that I’ve met through my journey with akt, and as part of that have had lots of exciting opportunities. The latest of those opportunities is joining the akt Board of Trustees, and I hope as part of this I will be able to help support other young people who might have had some of the same experiences as I did those years ago.

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