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Dave’s Tartan Trail

YMCA Thames Gateway’s CEO, Dave Ball, is taking on the gruelling 178 mile Tartan Trail cycle ride in Scotland this August, raising awareness and funds for the charity’s youth mental health work.

As someone who has lived at YMCA Romford, Dave knows only too well what an uphill battle with mental health young people can face.“This ride will see me taking on 20,000ft of hills across the Scottish highlands – I wanted to take on a real challenge, something that will test me physically and mentally. This mirrors my journey to some extent, and the lives of all the young people who rely on us, trusting us at such a critical stage in their own lives.

At a time when everyone’s resources are under enormous pressure we are growing our charity to meet the demands of our communities. Good mental health is the key for people to recognise and reach their potential. YMCA started by helping people look after their mind, body and spirit, we do the same today with people of all ages encouraging them to belong, contribute and thrive. We give them all that we can and yet we want to be able to do so much more, please help us, your support is vital.”

YMCA Thames Gateway hopes to raise a minimum of £5,000 in support of this challenge – this could enable 1000 hours of counselling for our most vulnerable residents in Romford, Dartford and Woolwich. The charity is calling on local businesses to pledge their support for this challenge by donating £50 – in return they will print bespoke cycle jerseys for each day of Dave’s challenge displaying the company logos. Please contact the Fundraising Team if you would like more information or to get involved.

Call us to find out more about the work that we do in the communities around our locations, find out how you can help us, and how we might be able to help you…



Could you sleep rough for one night?

Because some people in Dartford don’t have a choice, YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on local people to come together and take part in their 10th anniversary Sleep Easy fundraiser to support local, homeless young people.

The Dartford based charity is hosting this event in partnership with Dartford Churches Winter Shelter on Friday 8 March. The event will be held in Dartford’s Central Park from 7pm until the early hours of the following morning.

It is hoped that this year’s sleep out will raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market. YMCA Thames Gateway is one of 133 local YMCAs in England and Wales that, together, support more than 200,000 young people every year.

Brian Cooke, Director of Housing for YMCA Thames Gateway said: “With homelessness now at an all-time high and spreading well beyond traditional city heartlands, we are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up for the event to help us provide more young people with a safe and welcoming place to realise their potential.

This will be the third sleep out for the leader of Dartford Borough Council, Councillor Jeremy Kite.  He said: “There are many reasons why people find themselves in housing crisis and whilst I don’t pretend to know what all the answers might be, I do know that the problem has been with us for too long and that great local communities have a part to play. 

This will be the third time I’ve taken part in the YMCA event and if it helps raise the profile of both the issue and the great people working to tackle it then I’m very pleased to do it again.  Like many people, I am fortunate to be able to make a choice to sleep rough for a single night but there isn’t a moment during the event when you don’t reflect on those for whom there is no option.”

YMCA’s across the country are holding Sleep Easy events to raise much needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people.  All funds raised will be split equally between the YMCA and Dartford Churches Winter Shelter.

To find out more or register for Sleep Easy visit https://ymcatg.org/get-involved/sleepeasy2019/


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