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  1. ITV Report

Lady Gaga visits Manchester-founded LGBT charity

Superstar Lady Gaga with Manchester-based Tim Sigsworth MBE Photo: Albert Kennedy Trust

A charity that was founded in Manchester and was one of the first LGBT charities in the world welcomed global superstar Lady Gaga yesterday.

The Albert Kennedy Trustwas founded after 16-year-old Albert Kennedy fell to his death from the top of a car park in Manchester in 1989.

The Manchester charity soon grew and now has offices in Newcastle and London - it was the London branch that welcomed the Poker Face pop star yesterday.

Lady Gaga visited the charity's London offices Credit: Albert Kennedy Trust

Lady Gaga spent a few hours in the company of young people, staff and volunteers and said:

I went to the inspiring Albert Kennedy Trust to meet some homeless and suffering LGBTQ youth and share kindness on behalf of the Born This Way Foundation They are so sweet, talented, and ambitious.

But the holidays are very different for them so we brought some gifts and bonded, sharing our life stories and I did some research on what they really need to survive.

They need positive words and donations to keep LGBTQ homeless children who were abandoned off the streets and out of shelters that are dangerous. They are normal good kids, I hung out with them all day. They deserve a real shot at life.

– Lady Gaga

Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive at the Albert Kennedy Trust added:

What an incredible day for The Albert Kennedy Trust, it's young people and staff team.

To have her support is incredibly important. The young people really did get so much out of it, she spoke to each of them individually and spent time really hearing them out. She truly is a beautiful person: authentic, insightful, empathic.

Our young people will remember today for the rest of their lives. We’re proud to have Lady Gaga on board at AKT as an Ambassador and Patron. I’d like to thank everyone at The Elton John AIDS Foundation too, for helping to make today possible.

– Tim Sigsworth MBE

Before leaving the office, Gaga left an empowering message on the office wall:

Lady Gaga left an inspiring message on the wall Credit: Albert Kennedy Trust
Tweet: Lady Gaga Credit: Twitter
  • History of the Albert Kennedy Trust

Albert's death caused Manchester’s gay community to move into action by the Trust’s founder patron Cath Hall, a heterosexual foster carer who admitted she could not meet the full range of needs of LGBT young people in her care.

She had observed that Albert's case was not isolated, and that many other LGBT young people in and out of the foster care system were struggling with the effects of homophobia. Cath Hall described the founding of the trust as ""an emotional response, an angry response, to what was going on".

She started setting up a supported lodgings service for LGBT young people with the support of Hugh Fell, Manchester City Council and other key members of the Manchester LGBT community.

Albert was a runaway from a children's home and in his short life he had experienced rejection and abuse from society.

Cath and the rest of the committee chose to adopt the name the Albert Kennedy Trust not only as a tribute to this young man but also because Albert epitomised the very thing the organisation was set up to prevent happening to other young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

The organisation officially became a Trust in 1990.