I hope you are managing to make the most of summer despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.  

The pandemic has forced akt’s team to re-evaluate our short to medium term goals for the organisation as well as re-forecast our budget as a longer-term sustainability measure. The impact of lockdown on akt has included a significant increase in footfall into our services (at the height 107% increase London/43% nationally) and growth in more complex casework, including: mental health issues and domestic abuse focused work, alongside young people facing an increasing risk of eviction and joblessness.

The pandemic has also identified greater challenges and impact on the majority of our service users who identity as Black and/or People of Colour who are facing racism alongside battling with homelessness. 

With all these factors considered he have developed a programme of work for 2020-21 with a balance between strengthening existing projects with some much needed development, to ensure we have the capacity to deliver a stronger service to young people at an uncertain and challenging time. Watch out for our IMPACT report due out shortly, which will introduce our priorities for this year. 

In the meantime our first step has been to increase capacity within out services teams across the country to meet demand. Please welcome Hayley, our new Assistant Services Director based in Manchester; we are also recruiting two caseworkers and a digital case worker to support our online work nationally. Our management team have also developed a home / office working plan which will enable our critical frontline staff to support young people back in our centres as well as online.

I want to share the news that our Director of Fundraising, Carrie Reiners has now taken up the position of Deputy Chief Executive alongside continuing to lead our Fundraising department. In this new role Carrie is already doing a fantastic job developing a new department to focus on people, performance and culture – more on this in our next edition.

At this critical time I would really appreciate your support, and here are four ways you can help us:

  • Please share our online messaging  and the information I have shared here about the multiple challenges facing lgbtq+ young people at risk of homelessness during the pandemic - not just with your followers but with your local MP 
  • Help us raise money as we face increased demand, by making a donation through our summer appeal or maybe hosting an online fundraiser with your friends and colleagues  
  • Help us improve and grow our offer to young people by sharing our survey with young people you know or with those working with young people 
  • We are looking for Volunteer Hosts in London, Manchester and Newcastle who can offer a room and support to a young person for a short or longer period of time. For more information 

Thank you for all your support to akt in helping us provide safe homes and better futures to lgbtq+ young people. 

Please stay safe and make the most of your summer.

Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive

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