"Young people know what they’re talking about. They must be listened to."- Cath Hall

akt formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, and founder member of Manchester Parents Group (MPG), who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family home and the homophobia they faced within school and society. 

Cath was an activist during the days of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and is the original straight ally.

Cath on setting up akt (1990): “I was a foster carer and had looked after several young people who were LGBT. Some of them had horrific experiences in care and had mostly been running away. We worked to provide a very safe place for them where they’d also meet good people to model themselves on. We started akt (formerly The Albert Kennedy Trust) in July 1989. A dozen people came to a meeting and about eight or nine of them became dedicated volunteers.It was an emotional response, an angry response, to what was going on at the time.”

Cath on working with young LGBT people (1990): “The young people know clearly what they want and feel, but they feel unable to tell other people that. They’re not sure what’s expected of them trying to fit into a society that won’t allow them to be who they are. What would I tell a young person? Be proud of who you are and don’t be afraid to tell somebody – but choose carefully the person that you tell.”

akt: Year By Year

Six LGB volunteers led by straight ally Cath Hall meet at Manchester Town Hall to launch The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt). The world’s first ever service for homeless LGBT youth is born, providing safe homes and support, then later, mentoring.

1995 akt opens in London to meet growing need amongst young people.

1996 akt wins the Stonewall Equality Award.

2012 akt opens Purple Door, the UK’s first emergency safe house for LGBT young people.

2013 akt arrives in the northeast following merger with local project Outpost Housing Project.

2014 akt is 25 and launches a national multi-media campaign to raise awareness of homelessness.

2015 akt supports the development and launch of STREHA, eastern Europe’s first charity offering emergency accommodation to LGBT youth.

2015 akt launches its first No Room For Hate campaign with a series of powerful videos featuring young LGBT people who have been supported by akt. The campaign is still running today. 

2017 #aktGoesDigital! We launch our first digital and national service to provide young people with preventative support where and when they need it most.

2019 akt marks it’s 30th anniversary with a series of events, a brand refresh, an exhibition and short film. Even after 30 years, the issues affecting LGBTQ+ youth homelessness are still relevant today.

From 2019, we are now referring to ourselves as akt. Why?

akt’ is how our young people, supporters and the wider community have come to know us as we’ve grown, and so we’re pleased to own that in our new brand identity. It was important for us that we retained an important link to Albert in our name and were loyal to our history, while making a change that enabled us to talk more broadly about our founders story, particularly Cath Hall. This was based on feedback from our young people. Using the acronym enables us to keep Albert as a part of who we are - which is important - while being able to be associated with more than just one person’s story.

You can find out more about our new brand here.

Check out our gallery below!

AKT 30

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