08 March 2018
Young people in central London coming to terms with their sexuality are now able to make use of digital mentoring thanks to a new scheme being piloted by Kensington and Chelsea Council, which has teamed up with the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). The UKs youth homelessness charity which will run the scheme through its online service inter-AKT and provide a space to connect young people with online mentors and resources.
The figures of what can happen to young LGBT people is startling. While 3.3 per cent of young people describe themselves as LGBT, they make up 24 per cent of homeless young people and 77 per cent of this group have suffered domestic violence.
Young people come to inter-AKT seeking advice and support about a worry, question, challenge, interest, or opportunity. This can range from housing and homelessness to coming out to friends and family or developing skills or finding out more about local services and groups they can use.
To register go to www.akt.org.uk/inter-AKT or call 020 7831 6562. Once registered AKT will arrange a digital mentor, these highly trained individuals will then work with the young person, helping them access local services and support.
Kensington and Chelsea has also invited Westminster City Council to be involved in the pilot, to provide as many young people as possible the opportunity to access support and help. If the scheme is successful AKT plan to rollout the scheme across London.
Welcoming the launch of the pilot, Cllr Emma Will, Kensington and Chelsea Lead Member for Family Services, said: “I’m delighted we are involved in this exciting pilot. AKT is a really good fit with the work we are already doing and will provide an invaluable resource to our schools and young people.”
Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive of The Albert Kennedy Trust, added: “AKT are proud to be working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on this ground breaking pilot to keep young people safe and supported when they need it most, by ensuring everyone working and supporting young people in schools can provide access to inter-AKT, a digital prevention based service for young people who face the threat of abuse or rejection when coming out at home.”
Cllr David Nicholls said: "After I was asked by our new leader, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, to champion LGBT issues in the Royal Borough, I worked with AKT and fellow Conservative councillors to help bring this partnership together. I am thrilled that the Council is going to work with AKT to ensure our young LGBT residents have access to the online resources they may need."
For parents whose child has recently come out, can also get advice and help by contacting Fflag, a charity run by parents for parents, at www.fflag.org.uk or by calling 0845 652 0311.