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MUM'S £1m MISSION


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This struck me as something to spread far and wide.

Michael Causer Foundation

MUM'S £1m MISSION TO OPEN HOSTEL IN MURDERED GAY SON'S NAME

From the tragic murder of Michael Causer, the vision of a safe house

for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people at risk was born.

MEDIA RELEASE |12.06.12

The mum of murdered teenager Michael Causer has spoken of her mission to raise £1m for a homeless hostel.

Marie, 52, from Whiston, Merseyside, whose son died following a brutal attack five years ago, was touched by the plight of teenagers who said they had run away, rather than tell their parents they were gay, or had been kicked out of the family home because of their sexuality.

Her goal is to fund a hostel that can provide temporary emergency care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people at risk of being on the street.

Marie, with husband Mike, set up the Michael Causer Foundation after 18-year-old Michael was attacked at a house party in the Liverpool suburb of Huyton in 2008.

While Michael slept, his phone was taken and, when images of him and his boyfriend were found, he was brutally beaten.

He died in hospital ten days later from sever brain injuries.

As a sign of solidarity with Michael’s family, Liverpool’s LGBT community raised money to support them.

She said: “At the time of Michael’s death we obviously couldn’t work, we ran our own business and we couldn’t face people or customers. So we quit work, but we didn’t use the money - we lived on what we already had.

“It was when some people contacted me saying they had nowhere to go that I had the idea. I went on holiday in Torquay and there was a lovely chap there who was gay but he couldn’t come out because his parents were Christians.

“I said would you like us to tell them and he said, ‘No, I’ll just run away, get a train to London’. I just thought how sad.”

When Marie talked about distressed LGBT young people contacting her on Facebook, many threatened with homelessness, professionals from housing, youth work, education and the voluntary sector came together so help her make this vision of a safe house for young people aged 16 - 25 a reality.

Michael’s killer was sentenced on the basis it was not a hate crime, but his family have always believed he died because of his sexuality.

Marie added tearfully: “It’s just a fact that there’s so much hatred towards the likes of Michael. It’s that which drives me because it was so wrong.

“People do not realise children are not born to be hate, it is bred into them. That’s why we go to the Liverpool Pride festival every year. I’m not lesbian or gay but I lead the Pride march because I was proud of Michael and he was proud of himself.

In August, it will be five years since Michael died and the pain of losing him is still as raw as ever for the whole family.

Marie added: “I miss him so much. I think it’s his personality. He was a strong person and his personality outshone everything. I’ve met people just like Michael and I think if I give up who is going to be there for them?

“We need this house, we need accommodation for them. People say to me ‘if Michael wasn’t gay, would you be doing this?’ I say ‘yes’. Michael used to call the bingo and do events for charity. So, on some level, I’m helping because he would.”

The Michael Causer Foundation’s Development Worker, Kieran Bohan, was appointed in April to help achieve its vision: to create a society where LGBT young people feel safe, happy and understood; at home in their communities; and supported and empowered to achieve their full potential.

Kieran said: ‘I was on a stall at a youth centre when I overheard a child explain to her friend how Michael died, “He was killed because he loved another boy.”

‘If a ten-year-old can understand that no-one deserves to die because of who they are or who they love, then everybody can.’

The Foundation aims to raise £1m by 2015 to create a safe haven and provide round-the-clock support.

The first openly gay Lord Mayor in the country, Cllr Gary Millar, a trustee of the Foundation, took on the role of first citizen of Liverpool in May.

To boost their efforts, he has nominated the Michael Causer Foundation as one of four charities he will support during his year in office.

On the anniversary of Michael’s death each year, the Foundation leads a vigil in Temple Square, in Liverpool’s Stanley Street Quarter.

This year’s theme is ‘Friends’, aimed particularly at young people, though all ages are very welcome, on Friday 2nd August, the eve of the city’s Pride festival, at 7.30pm.

For more details or to make a donation, visit www.michaelcauserfoundation.org.uk

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