England’s only charity supporting housing for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has “regretfully” withdrawn from providing services in Brighton after feeling left out in the cold over funding.
The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), which works in Brighton, London and Manchester, providing foster care and lodgings to LGBT people in homeless and hostile environments, announced today that it could not carry on working in Brighton and Hove without ongoing support from the council.
The group had been funded by Comic Relief for the last three years to provide a supported housing and mentoring alternative for LGBT homeless young people in Brighton Hove but this grant ended at the end of March 2006. Whilst the Trust was committed to the short-term funding of the ongoing service from donations and reserves it was hoped to get ongoing funding from the City Council.
AKT chief executive, Richard McKendrick, said, “Following encouragement from council officers and a positive recommendation by the council’s voluntary sector and external funding unit I was stunned to read Brighton Hove’s decision particularly as the decision cites ‘the appraisers did not feel these services added sufficient value to the city council’s priorities, commitments and directorate development plans’.
“Brighton Hove City Council has always purported to be at the forefront of service development for those in need from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities and this decision is a huge setback.”
AKT trustee Paul Turner said, “The decision to pull out of Brighton and Hove is a real setback for our work. But we are faced with a tight budget and do not have the funds to continue the work without proper support and funding from the council. It would be great if the council would reconsider its decision and release the necessary funds to enable the work to continue fulltime in Brighton, it is a real blow to the LGBT community”
The Trust said it would continue to support any existing AKT Brighton Hove Supported Lodgings placements for their duration but will cease to provide any new placements or mentoring effective immediately.
Jude Tyrie, head of the voluntary sector and external funding unit, told PinkNews.co.uk: “We were oversubscribed with applicants for grants, money had to be divided to cover all sorts of different services in the city.
“The AKP asked for more funding than we give, they were scupprered by competing bids like Allsorts and Switchboard.
“There just is not enough money for everything.”
She added, “I work hard to make sure all the mainstream voluntary organisations have really strong equal opportunity policies in place.
“If a member of the LGBT community feels discriminated against they should be complain and I will support them.”