Help young homeless gays this Christmas

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Iconic out gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has teamed up with the Albert Kennedy Trust to offer a very special gift this Christmas.

For its ‘Safe and Sound’ appeal, the Trust, who support homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, is offering supporters the opportunity to buy a gift voucher priced £18.

Just £18 provides a safe shelter for an LGBT young person for one night.

The vouchers are presented inside Christmas cards specially designed by Sir Ian.

Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive of the Trust, said:

“Studies have shown that LGBTs account for 25 percent of homeless people, so they’re massively over-represented. I find that quite frightening.

“What would be fabulous would be if we could raise enough for a thousand nights off the street with this campaign.”

The accommodation it provides is tailored to the needs of young LGBT people, whose needs are not always meet by traditional providers at a time when they are particularly vulnerable.

Supported lodgings are available not just to those who are homeless, but also young LGBT people living in a hostile environment or who find themselves in crisis.

The Trust’s mentoring scheme teams young people with volunteers who, providing an average of two hours a week, offer support in all aspects of moving forward, from coming to terms with their sexuality, to getting a job.

Matthew from Salford was 17 when he approached the Trust for help. “I was getting verbal abuse from my family, so I decided to come to the trust.

“They fixed me up with a mentor, took my details and then I went in every week for a meeting. After about three months I got supported lodgings.”

Now 18, Matthew is leaving his accommodation in two weeks to start a new life as a Blue Coat at a Pontin’s Holiday Camp.

“The Trust has enabled me to be happy with who I am.

“My confidence has gone up a lot. I’m more motivated and I have more passion and drive. It’s helped a lot.”

While the Trust currently only works in London and Manchester, they provide information to organisations supporting homeless LBGT young people in other parts of the country.

If you would like to purchase a ‘Safe and Sound’ voucher, or want to find out more about volunteering, please call 020 7831 6562 visit their website.