Prince William made a special visit to a London-based LGBTI youth homelessness charity today (26 June) to mark 50 years since Stonewall.
The Duke of Cambridge stopped by the Albert Kennedy Trust’s (akt) new service centre in Hoxton to meet with young people and service workers. He was also there to officially open the new building.
The LGBTI organization provides safe house Purple Door, LGBTI host (or carer) services, in-person and online mentoring programs and a range of youth engagement activities.
The services team also support young people with job hunting and interview preparation, ensuring they have food, clothes and shoes, that their wellbeing is stable and that they know how to complete the right documentation for anything they might need.
Prince William meets LGBTI youth
Kensington Palace posted to Twitter today (26 June) about how important the visit was for the future king.
‘Ahead of the annual Pride in London parade,’ the tweet started. ‘The Duke of Cambridge visited [akt] to learn about the issue of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness and the positive change that akt are enacting through their unique prevention and early action approach.’
Ahead of the annual #PrideinLondon parade, The Duke of Cambridge visited @aktcharity to learn about the issue of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, and the positive change that akt are enacting through their unique prevention and early action approach. pic.twitter.com/seYAKw8ASq
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) June 26, 2019
Akt’s Chief Executive Tim Sigsworth said today’s meeting is a ‘hugely significant step forward’.
‘Akt is honoured to be welcoming His Royal Highness The Duke Of Cambridge to our new London service centre today,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘Which is the first visit by a member of the Royal Family to a LGBTI youth charity.’
Sigsworth then added: ‘The impact of homelessness is very damaging to LGBTI young people, with high rates and incidences of mental health issues, sexual exploitation, substance misuse, HIV and sexual health issues.
‘Today’s visit from HRH The Duke Of Cambridge is a hugely significant step forward in raising awareness of this important issue,’ he said.
Albert Kennedy Trust
The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) formed in 1989 in Manchester, UK, marking 30 years this year since its creation.
The charity name comes from a 16-year-old boy from Manchester who died after falling from a car park roof, while several attackers chased him.
Heterosexual foster carer Cath Hall founded the charity to help tackle the problem of LGBTI youth homelessness.
She said in 1990: ‘I was a foster carer and had looked after several young people who were LGBTI. 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,’ she said.
According to an akt press release, almost one quarter of the 150,000 young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTI. 77% of those cite rejection or abuse from their families as what led them to being so.