I want to start by acknowledging that I am writing this piece after a series of external news events over the past few weeks which have triggered feelings of anxiety, anger and upset for many of the young people and indeed team members at akt.  Therefore I want to say we stand in support and solidarity with you, if you have been negatively impacted by the events.

This period in time has made me reflect further on the diversity and intersectionality within our community; the thing that brings us both strength and beauty.  You may or may not be aware that the predominant identities of young people who access akt comprise Black people and People of Colour (63%), people living with a disability (67%), women (53%) and trans or non-binary people (36%) - groups of people who have all witnessed such terrifying reminders over the past few weeks of how society mistreats and discriminates against them consistently.  This often means that when young people arrive at akt they may have faced multiple levels of discrimination when seeking a safe home and that for them being safe and heard are vital when they come to akt. This for me is a stark reminder that LGBTQ+ people may now have more legal rights as a community than ever before but there are still so many in our community who faces challenge on so many different levels.

every generation has its own challenges - edward enninful mbe

In developing our forward plan for the next five years our consultation with young people, volunteers, supporters and the team has included a central focus on finding out and understanding how marginalised groups within our community, who comprise the majority of our service users, experience akt and want to see akt grow to better support their needs. I have been so humbled and inspired by their words and I can’t wait to share our future plans with you once we have absorbed these ideas into our strategy for 2021-26.

It’s going to be a very busy and exciting spring/summer at akt, with some of our plans dependent on whether the unlocking of the country keeps ‘roughly’ to schedule. Over the past few weeks we have shaped those plans by focusing on developing our forthcoming strategy, deciding our post pandemic digital transformation priorities and had conversations involving how we measure and recognise impact and social value at akt. Through all of these discussions  we have focused back on akt’s mission. I’d like to remind you of that mission which akt has never drifted from:

Preventing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, because no young person should have to choose between a safe home and being who they are.

Over the next few editions of akt now I will provide updates on our forward plan and tell you more about our presence and involvement at events including Manchester Pride and UK Black Pride this summer. Until then, please keep safe and thank you for helping some of the most marginalised and in need young people within our community. You are all amazing and proof that we have the potential to help young people create better futures despite all the challenge and discrimination they face.

Thank you.

Tim Sigsworth FRSA
Chief Executive

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