I am choosing this final edition of akt now this year not to talk about all the challenges our young people, the team and akt have faced - but to celebrate the wonderful things that have happened this year thanks to our incredible staff and volunteers.

Over the past two weeks I have had the joy and privilege of spending time online talking with some of akt’s young people from all over the country. What continues to inspire me is the incredible strength, resilience and general positivity of our young people, especially during this year. This for me demonstrates the true values of the lifeline of support the akt team offers young people.

During lockdown our Services team experienced a 100% increase in footfall and despite this challenge to their capacity they have continued to provide an incredible level of support to young people. Furthermore they have also reached out to young people across Wales, Scotland and the regions of England where do not have physical service centres to ensure those in need or crisis, who may be in lockdown with unsupportive or in some case abusive families, have the support they need.

Our youth engagement team have developed a programme of workshops and hangouts online and I have seen myself just how these vital spaces have been transformative to some of the most at risk, marginalised and isolated young people we support.

Last month we won a Homeless Link national award for our amazing communications work over the pandemic. Throughout 2020 our communications team have highlighted across media the challenges to LGBTQ+ young people’s, health, safety, financial and job security and human rights.

Our fundraising team have achieved the impossible and kept akt stable through such a challenging time. Please - if you can - give to our winter appeal and make sure akt continues to help more young people into safe homes and better futures in 2021. Click here to donate.

Kate and our 120+ volunteers have had a tough year when much of our traditional volunteering has needed to go on hold during lockdown. However, people have stepped up to the challenge and whether it be as a host, mentor or peer mentor (for example) the volunteers have boosted our capacity during a time when we have really been stretched by increased demand.

And finally, thank you. As our supporters, your time, money and support, including your wonderful messages filled with positivity and thanks have kept us all going at akt through the toughest year in our 31 year journey.

I just want to leave you with a quote from a young person I spoke to this week which captures for me the impact of akt:

There is nothing like akt anywhere else and I wish there was an akt near me. The support I have been given has truly gone way beyond providing me with advice and support to secure safe housing; my caseworker has helped me cope with my mental health and other challenges in my life. I can’t wait to meet my caseworker in person once things are back to normal.

Keep safe during the holidays and have a wonderful time. I look forward to seeing you in 2021, which I know will be a better year for us all.

Tim


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