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Park View launch event

Innovative factory-built affordable housing scheme welcomes first tenants in the London Borough of Havering 

YMCA Thames Gateway Group, covering Essex, Kent and London, has officially opened its innovative new housing development, solving an affordable move-on accommodation problem its residents have long faced.

YMCA Thames Gateway. Photo: Joas Souza

Designed by renowned architecture practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), and engineered and manufactured off-site by AECOM, the affordable accommodation scheme, located behind the YMCA in Rush Green Road, Romford, is a huge step forward for the organisation.

The 39-unit Park View development has been designed for people leaving Thames Gateway’s hostel and supported housing accommodation, and apartments are being rented out at around 80 per cent of the market rate in the area.

Dave Ball, Chief Executive of YMCA Thames Gateway Group, said: “This innovative method of construction presents a new way of creating affordable, aspirational housing for those wanting to take their next step towards independent living. Having the right team in place to manage the project was vital to its success.

“In the London Borough of Havering, we have long struggled with reasonably priced accommodation for our residents who are ready to leave the hostel, and with this new development, built on our existing land, we have made huge headway with this.”

YMCA Thames Gateway. Photo: Joas Souza

From the very start of the project, Modular Building Consultants were on hand to provide pre-construction support. They led on tendering, project management & carried out the employer’s agent role.

Ivan Harbour, Senior Design Partner for Park View at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said: “Park View offers compact, self-contained homes within a small community. Generous, high quality, spaces with exceptional insulation, daylight and acoustics have been achieved through the use of rapid and cost-effective volumetric technology, a more sustainable and equitable approach to house building that we will be seeing much more of in the future.”

YMCA Thames Gateway. Photo: Joas Souza

Furthermore, Andrew Partridge, Associate Partner and Project Architect for Park View at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said: “It’s wonderful working with YMCA again. They understand their clients so well. Park View is a great initiative in independent living accommodation. Delivered using off-site technology, the scheme is well designed, energy efficient and offers spacious homes.”

The 39 Park View units were all constructed off-site in Derbyshire before being transported to Essex. Installation of the three-storey building started in July 2020, following months of preparation, and the last home was lifted into place in January 2021. Battling with the consequences of a global pandemic added some delays to the development, but in July, 39 residents moved into Park View from the Romford hostel…and 39 new residents moved into the hostel!

Along with investment from YMCA Thames Gateway reserves, the Park View development was funded with a capital grant of £2.81m from the GLA’s London Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21 and a £1.43m loan from Charity Bank.

Paul Oshodin, 27, is one of the first tenants to move into Park View. Born in Nigeria, Paul came to the UK with his aunt when he was 11, after the sudden death of his mother. After a turbulent five years, Paul’s aunt returned to Nigeria, leaving him alone in the UK aged just 16.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, feeling scared of social services finding out he was alone and would be deported as a result, Paul did what he could to look after himself. Sofa surfing, sleeping in parks and shop doorways, and doing any job he could for a little bit of money, Paul eventually went to Connexions for some help, initially to find work. However, the case worker he met there, a man called Rob, realized that all was not as well Paul made out so, once Paul had confessed his situation to Rob, the journey of support for Paul began.

YMCA Thames Gateway. Photo: Joas Souza

Fast forward to 2017, Paul was offered housing in YMCA Romford and has been working to move his life forward since then.

Paul said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect but the YMCA gave me stability, which was invaluable for me – having a roof over my head has made all the difference. If I hadn’t found the YMCA I don’t know where I would be, genuinely. It changed my life – I’m not even trying to be cliché – it really did.

“Moving into Park View has given me another push – I don’t want to take anything away from my room in the hostel but this is different. I have my own kitchen, I can cook for myself, I can be with other people if I choose to be but can spend time on my own.


You said, we did

Our first revitalised Member Engagement Forum wasn’t very well attended sadly, but those that did attend provided us with some useful insight and feedback.

We wanted to give you a summary of the things discussed and actions that we will be taking, are unable to take, and timelines that we expect these to be completed in. In next week’s newsletter, we will be sharing a link that will allow you to tell us what day of the week and time of the day suits you better should you wish to attend the next Member Engagement Forum, so we can accommodate as many people as possible.


You said…

We have introduced a new coffee machine in the restaurant and there has been feedback from members and staff alike that the coffee was too strong.  Also, that a mocha or hot chocolate was unavailable.

We did…

Following a conversation with some of the catering staff, we have reduced the strength on the machine and hope that this has made a difference.  However, another reason the coffee – which is of a much better quality than before – may taste different is that the machine uses fresh milk, not the powdered milk, so is naturally not as sweet. The machine we are now using is the same one used in all Costa Coffee express kiosks (just without the branding on the front of it) so is a professional-quality machine. There is also a hot milk function on the machine for those that want extra hot coffee – please just ask.

Although the new machine doesn’t serve pre-made hot choc or mocha, if this is your drink of choice, simply as the staff who will make it fresh to order with vastly improved ingredients (again, as in most coffee shops).


You said…

A popular Body Balance class on a Monday morning has not returned post lockdown, due to instructor unavailability.

We did…

We will look to see if we can resurrect this class, possibly with an alternative instructor.  We do have similar classes to this one on our timetable and have Yoga and Pilates classes available both online and in the venue.  Please see our class timetable for more information.

You said…

Feedback was also given about the Diner as a location for classes. While the space is great, the fan and lighting for this room is controlled from behind the counter. This means somebody in the restaurant has to be asked to turn these on, and there has not been a pole present to open the windows.

We did…

We are looking at revamping this space to make it more suitable as a multi-use space. we will look at relocating the controls for these during this work. In the meantime, we will ensure the windows are opened in the mornings to ensure some fresh airflow, and that a pole is available should they need to be closed.

You said…

We have been unable to replace our badminton instructor so can’t currently offer coaching sessions.

We did…

There are a small group of members that regularly play badminton every Wednesday between 10.30am and 12.30am in the sports hall. This will be ongoing so if you would like to come and play badminton, please feel free to join this group who would welcome new participants.


You said…

The air-conditioning in the Dance Studio has not been working properly and it’s not cool enough when classes begin in the morning.

We did…

We have learnt that the air condition is triggered by somebody entering the room so we will be asking whoever opens the building up in the morning to go in and ensure that the air-conditioning has come on early enough.

It is worth noting that the room is used for a number of different classes and that the temperature requirements up there are dependent on the type of group. From Pilates to Body Pump through to cancer rehabilitation, all users will require a different temperature so we are unable to keep it at a constant temperature. Instructors will also be shown how to use the air-conditioning unit so that they may change it to suit their class requirements.

You said…

The microphone in the RPM room was not working for today’s class (Tuesday 7 September)

We did…

We have determined that this was an instructor error. A video of how to ensure that the microphone is on has now been recorded and sent to all instructors.

You said…

There was a comment that the bikes in the RPM studio need updating.

We did…

The bikes were all serviced before we reopened in July and deemed fit for purpose.

You said…

Much of our equipment, including hand weights, steps and blocks, and mats need replacing.

We did…

We are very aware of this and are currently securing quotes to determine the cost of this. This year has significantly reduced our income but we will be looking at funding and moving this forward, and we will keep you updated with our progress.

You said…

Some of the stickers put in place on the floor during the height of the pandemic are still in place s

We did…

We have logged a job with our Property Services team to have these removed as soon as possible.




Open from 7.00am – 4.00pm


9.30am      RPM with Delray

9.30am      Rebound HIIT with Jo

10.30am     Body Pump with Jo

ONLINE (digital live) CLASSES

9.30am       HIIT online with Sarah


Open to the public from 9.30am – 5.30pm

Residents Breakfast – 9.30am – 10.30am

Residents Dinner – 4.30pm – 5.30pm




Youth programme for 12-16 year olds

We are introducing a new youth programme over the summer holidays for children aged 12-16! 

This programme is specifically for children living (or attending a school) in Havering and receiving free school meals.

The programme will include FREE gym sessions and classes, climbing, sports leadership programmes and more!

Sessions will take place four days a week from 26 July – 20 August (Monday to Thursday) from 10.00am – 2.00pm at our Romford branch. Eligible children can attend up to four sessions per week.

To apply for a place, please download and complete the booking form below and email it to Qualitychildcare@ymcatg.org by 5.00pm on Wednesday, 14 July 2021 latest.


Please note that spaces are limited and are offered on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information please call 01708 766211 ext 232.


Birthday parties update

Following a rise in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, thought to be 40% to 80% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, the Government have taken the decision to delay the easing of lockdown.

Today’s announcement means that unfortunately, we will be unable to offer birthday parties until after 19 July. Please do call us to reschedule your party, as those who had booked parties with us post 21 June will be given priority of dates.


Captain Tom 100

We’re proud to be part of the #CaptainTom100 challenge which celebrates the life and legacy of Captain Sir Tom Moore.


All you need to do is dream up a challenge based around the number 100, and complete it between Friday, 30 April and Monday, 3 May.
You could walk 100 laps of your garden just like Captain Tom, swim 100 lengths or sing for 100 minutes. There are no rules (apart from following Government guidelines) and it’s open to everyone.
Join team YMCA and start your fundraising journey now! Click here to sign up, or find out more.

Share your 100 and inspire hope!

Whether you’re juggling for 100 seconds, building 100 sandcastles or climbing 100 steps, we’d love to see it.

Help inspire the nation by sharing pictures or videos of your 100 on social media, using the hashtag #CaptainTom100



Do it your way! Together we can ensure Captain Tom’s legacy lives on.




YMCA Thames Gateway is pleased to share its merger with YMCA West Kent, enabling the two organisations to combine their strengths, skills, resources and knowledge to better serve the people and communities they work with across London, Kent and Essex.

YMCA West Kent will become one of the branches operating as part of YMCA Thames Gateway, joining Romford, Dartford, Greenwich and Bexley. Services delivered by YMCA West Kent will currently be unchanged and all the existing staff members will remain in post.

Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Thames Gateway, Dave Ball, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to welcome YMCA West Kent as part of the Thames Gateway family going forward. The past year has been really tough for a number of organisations, and especially charities, so to be able to come together to continue our work across an even wider patch is incredibly positive.”

YMCA Thames Gateway came to fruition when YMCA Romford successfully merged with YMCA Dartford back in 2015. As an Association, they offer around 500 young people with a safe place to stay every year, childcare support through nurseries, pre-schools, and after school, holiday and youth clubs, and deliver health and wellbeing through a gym and fitness classes. The merger with West Kent will see YMCA Thames Gateway add a number of projects to their portfolio of services including an education and training scheme that uses carpentry and joinery to engage young people, and excite them about learning, life after school and their role and potential in the workplace.

Interim Chief Executive of YMCA West Kent, Steve Osborne, said: “Our merger has followed careful consideration of the strategic objectives of both our Associations. By West Kent becoming a branch of YMCA Thames Gateway, we have the potential to grow our work whilst continuing to provide residential support and other services to the communities we have served for the past 30 years.”

The merger will be official from Thursday 1 April and it’s important to note that service users won’t experience any change in the way things operate.



FITNESS (digital schedule only)

Good Friday:

  • Schedule as normal

Bank Holiday Monday:

  • Rehab with Kim is cancelled. All other classes as per schedule.

CHILDREN’S SERVICES (Holiday Club only)

Good Friday & Bank Holiday Monday:

  • Closed. Holiday Club starts on Tuesday, 6 April

RESTAURANT (YMCA residents only)

Good Friday:

  • Breakfast from 9.30am – 10.30am
  • Dinner from 4.30pm – 5.30pm

Bank Holiday Monday:

  • Breakfast from 9.30am – 10.30am
  • Dinner from 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Due to reopen to the public on 17 May 2021