60 Seconds with Deputy CEO at LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness charity akt, Carrie Reiners

Community June 29, 2021

Above: LGBTQ+ charity akt’s Virtual Pride festival & Campaign film ‘We Are Family’

What do akt do?

akt is a national LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness charity. We work with young people who are facing homelessness or rejection from home simply for being who they are. We provide access to safe accommodation and support to build resilience to ensure that no young person must choose between a safe home and being who they are. We have seen a dramatic rise in young people accessing since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which increased footfall from many areas of the country that traditionally have not been in touch – like rural or isolated areas. We also heard from a number of young people who faced unemployment and reduced opportunities due to lockdown. Thanks to our strong community of supporters, akt was able to build capacity within our front-line team and create a new fully digital offer for young people.

We are thrilled to have the support of The Mill again this year.  Last year, The Mill created a brand film and this year they are championing our work to wider audiences.  If you’d like to support our work directly, please use this link to donate.

Talk us through akt and how it all started?

Like a lot of LGBTQ+ charities, akt was founded in 1989 in the wake of Section 28. Our founder, Cath Hall, was a foster carer and noticed that many young LGBTQ+ people were falling through the cracks of the system due to a lack of understanding in their placements. Following the death of Albert Kennedy, she and a group of activists organised to provide safe places for young people to stay. We employ a more sophisticated service thirty years down the road, but first and foremost we want to ensure young people have access to safe accommodation so that they can live independently and celebrate their true identities.

Tell us about your role at akt?

I have a dual role at akt as the Deputy CEO.  I lead our fundraising team which is focused on income generation to support our work and the day-to-day running of the charity with our People, Performance and Culture team.

Your team recently wrapped akt’s Virtual Pride festival, what were the highlights?

This was our second year of producing a digital Pride festival. It is a great way to combine helpful information sessions for young people on topics like housing rights, working in the charity sector and asexuality awareness with fun online events like art sessions and book discussions as well as  DJ set to end the festival. As a certified Harry Potter nerd, I really enjoyed the chat with Chris Rankin!

How can people get involved in supporting akt?

Please do follow us on social media and share our posts to spread awareness of our work or directly support our work with donations. We also welcome the return of volunteers to support our events and projects when it is safe to do so.

Find out more about akt.

You can also discover & donate to these incredible organizations which are based in the US:

True Colours United | Implementing innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the experiences of LGBTQ youth

The Trevor Project  | Leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth

Deputy CEO at LGBTQ+ charity akt, Carrie Reiners