YMCA THAMES GATEWAY




BARKING & DAGENHAM / DARTFORD
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In The Press

Archive of news articles featuring YMCA Thames Gateway:

JOIN THE NATION IN THE 2.6 CHALLENGE TO SAVE UK CHARITIES – 23 April 2020


YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on supporters to join The 2.6 Challenge to save UK charities, so that they can continue to support people in the local community through housing, health and wellbeing and family work programmes.  Help is needed now more than ever before.

Like so many charities across the county, YMCA Thames Gateway has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the majority of its community facilities temporarily closed and summer fundraising events on hold, the charity’s income will be significantly reduced.

The challenge is to dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26, and fundraise or donate on the charity’s Virgin Money Giving page: https://bit.ly/ymcatg-26challenge

Taking up the 2.6 Challenge can be something as simple as walking or running 2.6 miles, 26 press-ups or 26 minutes walking round the garden.  Anyone stuck for ideas can join in with the charity’s live 2.6 circuit class this coming Sunday (26 April) at 10am.

It can be a sponsored activity, or a donation – £2.60 or £26 – whatever is affordable – it all adds up and will make a world of difference to YMCA Thames Gateway.

The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,” says Joanna Read, Director of Programmes for YMCA Thames Gateway.  “You can walk, cycle or jog 2.6 miles or for 26 minutes; you could challenge 26 friends and family members to join you for a live video workout, or even bake 26 cookies with your children – anything you like.  We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help save our charity by giving money or raising funds.”

The campaign, The 2.6 Challenge, will launch on Sunday, 26 April 2020 – what should have been the date of the fortieth London Marathon – and will last for a week. The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing, and remember to stay local.

For more information on YMCA Thames Gateway please visit the charity’s website at www.ymcatg.org

For more information on The 2.6 Challenge, visit twopointsixchallenge.co.uk

Testing times bring out the best in our community – 15 April


The past few weeks have been strange and challenging for everyone, and we’ve all had to adapt and find new ways to live and work.

For many local businesses, changing the way they provide their services has been vital to their survival, but this doesn’t mean they have forgotten about the community in which they work. Funding and donations have been coming in to the YMCA in Dartford in all shapes and sizes.

Bericote Properties, who are developing an area on the Bridge Estate, are now funding an in-house food bank which has been essential for our residents who were left without many staples following the recent panic buying. With their help, we have been able to ensure that nobody is going without and any new residents will be given a welcome package including basic foods and cleaning products to start their stay at the YMCA.

Emma Middleton, Fundraising Manager, said: “People want to help. A crisis always brings out the caring side of people and, during this pandemic, we’re so proud to be part of such a giving community. Waitrose in Longfield have committed to weekly donations throughout the duration of this crisis. Their incredible contribution will include food donations for Dartford residents, Temple Hill Nursery and towards the hampers for our cancer rehab programme.

“Dartford Deeds not Words Foundation provided Mother’s Day gifts for our mums with young babies; Waitrose in Sidcup have provided baby items, including food and nappies, for residents in the Woolwich accommodation; and Nandos Bluewater, McDonalds Dartford and Zizzi Lakeside all donated their perishable food surplus, before closure, to residents.”

In addition to corporate support, our community members have also been remembering the charity, with several donations received in recent weeks.

And while the charity is grateful for all support it receives, it’s determined to provide as much support during this period of uncertainty as possible. Online fitness classes, childcare for key workers, Happiness Hampers for vulnerable members of the community plus housing security for its residents living in Dartford, Woolwich and Romford.

Childcare for the children of key workers is available at our Temple Hill Nursery between 8am-6pm for children aged 6months to 11 years. Simply email qualitychildcare@ymcatg.org if you are a key worker and need childcare help.

Protecting our people, staying part of the community  – 27 March 2020


 

Advice around Covid-19 is changing daily and for most, self-isolating at home is something that is possible and fairly easy to do. Not for the 148 residents at the YMCA in Romford.

A hostel built in the 1960s, the residents share bathrooms and eat in a communal dining room. Usually this creates a friendly and homely atmosphere but the coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation.

Director of Housing, Brian Cooke, explained: “We asked all residents to advise if they have somewhere else they can go for the short term, that would enable them to self-isolate, but many don’t have that option. We’ve also found that available advice has been limited about what to do – we’re in an unusual situation, where our residents share facilities.

“For our residents who present with Covid-19 symptoms, we have taken measures to support them with self-isolation. Each residential floor has two bathrooms so one has been designated for those with symptoms. We’re also offering room service, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to those affected.”

While the residents need to be the priority, the YMCA is a community and members, visitors and staff also need to be considered.

The Diner is the main hub for social groups to convene and enjoy a drink, lunch and a chat, and the difficult decision to close this for the time being has been made. Similarly the gym and fitness classes have been closed on site – however all is not lost.

“We’ve been working really hard to keep our fitness provision going as much as possible,” explained Viki Bainsfair, Health & Wellbeing Manager. “We know how important it is to keep your mental health strong during times of difficulty and we’re offering our members online access to classes and workouts they can do at home for a fraction of the cost of their usual membership fee.”

As a charity, the YMCA will be affected by the closure of its core services but one incredibly positive outcome is the way the residents have responded. Brian explained: “So many of our residents either study or work, and are now staying in the hostel due to the lockdown. However they are keen to help our neighbours and their fellow residents. There have been offers of help to pick up cleaning duties, as many of our current cleaning team fall into the vulnerable category; offers of picking up shopping for those that live near to the YMCA buildings; as well as the suggestion that they create online training videos for the gym members. The sense of community here is one I’m really proud of.”

Our centres have also been overwhelmed by donations made by local businesses during the past week. McDonald’s donated chilled stock in both Romford and Dartford, TK Maxx donated lots of goodies to our Romford residents and our Dartford site was delighted to receive a bumper gift of food from Nando’s Bluewater too.  Food was be shared between residents and our nurseries who are still caring for children of key workers at this time.

Waterstones in Romford, who normally donate to children’s book libraries, provided a number of books for our residents, and Lush in Romford have provided 150 bars of soap for the residents too.

The YMCA in Romford and Temple Hill, Dartford, will continue to offer childcare to key workers and space is available between 8am-6pm for children aged 6months to 11 years. Simply email qualitychildcare@ymcatg.org if you are a key worker and need childcare help.

YMCA announced as Gravesend and Dartford Messenger charity of the year for 2020

27 February 2020
The YMCA began helping young people in north Kent more than 130 years ago but still many people don’t know very much about the charity.

The Thames Gateway branch is hoping to combat this as it becomes the Gravesend and Dartford Messenger’s charity of the year for 2020.

YMCA's Rosie Foreman
YMCA’s Rosie Foreman

It helps around 10,000 people each year through accommodation, children’s services, health and wellbeing, training and education, support and advice.

Its accommodation not only gives young people a safe, warm place to stay, it also offers support to help them stay off the streets for good.

The charity’s hub in Overy Street, Dartford offers accommodation to 56 young adults at risk of homelessness every year.

Staff help them get back on their feet through additional support such as outdoor education, benefits advice, employment and informal education support, work experience and vocational training.

The YMCA can give troubled youngsters the chance to make a fresh start by working with other organisations to offer drugs and alcohol counselling and crime prevention advice.

One of the YMCA's Sleep Easy events
One of the YMCA’s Sleep Easy events

The charity aims to be a springboard to help young people into independent accommodation, work and training and support workers are there to help them every step of the way.

Residents are assigned a support worker who will create an individual support plan for them. Regular support meetings continue for the duration of stay, which can be up to two years.

The YMCA is then able to offer ‘move on’ units and offer support and advice on the transition into independent living.

The YMCA believes every family should have the support it needs to develop and lead more fulfilling lives so the charity also provides childcare and support to parents.

It looks after more than 200 children every day at its nurseries including Temple Hill Nursery and Oakfield Nursery in Dartford and Swancombe Pre-school.

“We can’t promise you a comfortable night but we can promise you an inspiring one.”

It also offers a range of other support to families, including holiday and youth clubs, before and after school activities, support for those at risk of exclusion from school, and family and parenting programmes.

Rosie Foreman, who was previously a prison officer, has been working for YMCA Thames Gateway since June last year as a housing and sustainment coordinator.

Rosie’s role sees her work with young people from all different backgrounds to help them get their lives back on track by supporting their individual needs.

A number of the residents at YMCA Dartford have experienced negative mental health or substance misuse issues throughout their lives so, alongside the one-to-one support, the YMCA also offers support from counsellors as well as referrals to other organisations.

The charity helps young people like Sarah, who was just 16 years-old when she came to the YMCA last July, having been told to leave her family home as they couldn’t afford to financially support her any more.

“Being told to leave the family home meant she dropped out of college.”

“Sarah was so young in every way when she came to us last year,” said Rosie.

“She’s been attending a development programme which has seen her mature so much in the past few months and she is hoping to complete a work placement at one of our nurseries as part of the programme she’s on.”

Sarah hopes to secure an apprenticeship in one of the YMCA-run nurseries and then, with support from Rosie and her colleagues, work out her move-on options to start building her life living independently.

“Emotionally Sarah has been on quite a journey – being told to leave the family home meant she dropped out of college and didn’t know where her life was going to go,” said Rosie.

“Now she has more clarity and hope for the future.”

The YMCA began helping children in north Kent 130 years ago. Picture: Stock
The YMCA began helping children in north Kent 130 years ago. Picture: Stock

YMCA is the largest and the oldest charity working with young people in the world.Across England there are 114 YMCAs.

The Thames Gateway branch is raising money to help people like Sarah when it holds its flagship fundraisier Sleep Easy next month.

The charity is still looking for individuals or groups to sleep outside for one night at Dartford’s Central Park.

Taking place on Friday, March 6 from 7pm, its aims to raise funds to help the YMCA tackle the root causes of youth homelessness, as well as raise awareness.

Senior area fundraiser Kirsty Doubleday said: “We can’t promise you a comfortable night but we can promise you an inspiring one that will make a big difference to vulnerable young people locally. We’ll provide the box, you provide the sleeping bag.”

Nursery children and staff wearing their nightwear in aid of the Tsunami appeal In 2005
Nursery children and staff wearing their nightwear in aid of the Tsunami appeal In 2005

With hot drinks and snacks throughout the night, the event will finish with breakfast rolls

in the café at the YMCA on Overy Street before everyone heads home at around 7am.

YMCA Thames Gateway is one of several local YMCAs across the country which have joined forces to raise awareness during the national Sleep Easy Week.

The branch has hosted Sleep Easy nights since 2010.

Brian Cooke, YMCA’s director of housing, said: “YMCA’s across the country are holding Sleep Easy events at the same time to raise much needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people.”

“We know from experience that without the support we offer many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential.

“We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up for YMCA Sleep Easy and help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime difference.”

To register for the Sleep Easy event, visit www.ymcatg.org or email sleepeasy@ymcatg.org

To find out more about the YMCA’s work in Dartford, call 01322 282030 or email info.dartford@ymcatg.org.

The Thames Gateway branch also runs services in Romford, Greenwich and Ashford.

COULD YOU SWAP YOUR COMFY BED FOR A CARDBOARD BOX AND A SLEEPING BAG? 

Released: 25 February 2020

YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on the local community to sleep rough for one night to support homeless young people.

The event will see participants sleep outside for an evening to raise both money and awareness of the increasing issue of youth homelessness.

Local business, Safestore Orpington, are very kindly donating boxes for the event which takes place in Dartford’s Central Park on Friday, 6 March.  Adam, their store manager is also taking part in the event.

Homelessness is an issue close to Adam’s heart, as his dad found himself street homeless when Adam was in his teens.  Following a family breakdown and messy divorce, Adam and his older brother continued to live at the family home with their father.  However the following year his dad developed addiction problems and Adam then moved in with his mum.  Adam was 13 at the time and didn’t see his dad for six years.

His dad found himself at rock bottom; an addict and street homeless for more than four years, and in his own words “had no self-respect”.  Fortunately his dad was offered a safe place to stay at a local YMCA; a lifeline that enabled him to turn his life around.

Speaking about his father’s experience, Adam said: “It is the simple things that make the difference when you are homeless. When you have no abode then you are merely “surviving”. The YMCA gave my dad a room, shower and a kettle; these little things bring back a sense of responsibility and self-worth which are priceless when you live on a street with no such amenities.

“The YMCA was also fundamental in helping to guide to other organisations to assist with the addiction problems my dad faced. Which I hasten to add are only heightened and increased when you live on the street; they ease the mind but destroy the soul.

“The YMCA provided me with a happy ending. I am happy to say my father is now recovered (18 years). We have a good relationship and without the YMCA and the work they do I may have lost my father forever.”

Once Adam found out more about the event he wanted to give something back.  He has since signed up to take part.  He said: “I am happy to support this worthwhile cause; no amount I raise will ever give back what has already been given to me by YMCA.”

Could you join Adam and sleep rough for one night?  One night could make a lifetime of difference to a vulnerable young person.  To register for the Sleep Easy event with YMCA Thames Gateway click on the sign-up link below or email sleepeasy@ymcatg.org.

 

 

If you would like to sponsor Adam please follow the link to his online fundraising page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=AdamWright38&pageUrl=1

21 January 2020

YMCA IS CALLING ON SUPPORTERS TO SLEEP ROUGH FOR ONE NIGHT

YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on local residents to come together and sleep rough for one night in March to support local, homeless young people.

The local youth charity, which has had a presence in Dartford since 1883, is hosting a Sleep Easy fundraiser in Central Park from 7pm to 7am on Friday 6 March. The event will see participants sleep outside for an evening to not only raise money but also awareness of youth homelessness.

YMCA Thames Gateway is one of several local YMCAs across the country that have joined forces to raise awareness during the national Sleep Easy Week (6 – 13 March). Hundreds of supporters are expected to sleep out all over the country to raise funds to help YMCA continue to support residents and young people in its services.

YMCA Thames Gateway has hosted Sleep Easy nights since 2010 and the charity hope that this year’s event will help raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market.

Brian Cooke, YMCA’s Director of Housing, said: “YMCA’s across the country are holding Sleep Easy events at the same time to raise much needed awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people.” 

 “We know from experience that without the support we offer many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential.

 “We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up for YMCA Sleep Easy and help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime difference.”

To register for the Sleep Easy event with YMCA Thames Gateway visit their website at http://www.ymcatg.org or email sleepeasy@ymcatg.org.

 

Inspirational winner from YMCA Thames Gateway celebrates success at national youth charity awards


12 November 2019

Adele Tondu from YMCA Thames Gateway has conquered strong competition to be crowned Young Campaigner of the Year at the leading charity’s national youth awards ceremony last Friday.

Adele, 18 from Romford triumphed over two other inspiring young people at the Youth Matters 2019 awards ceremony, which was held at exclusive central London venue 8 Northumberland Avenue, and hosted by acclaimed broadcaster and TV presenter Nihal Arthanayake.

The Young Campaigner of the Year Award recognises the exceptional achievements of a young person who has campaigned to make a real difference to the lives of others and their community.

Adele was one of three young people to get through to the awards night after battling through judges’ shortlisting and an online public vote.

She was praised by judges for her passion for youth empowerment, dedicated promotion of peaceful societies and inspirational leadership skills, as well as her role as a YMCA Youth Ambassador. Adele also recently attended the United Nations, putting her skills into practice and meeting more than 20 national YMCA leaders, as well as delivering a session on YMCA’s work locally and nationally.

On winning the award, Adele said: “I am really excited to have won such a significant award. Even reaching the final stage was overwhelming.

“My life has changed so much since getting involved with YMCA and I appreciate everyone who has supported me. Thank you to everyone who made this night possible.”

Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards programme and has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009. It celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country and also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day.

Locally, YMCA Thames Gateway provides supported accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness.  The charity also provides children’s services, fitness facilities, a community café open to the public daily plus function rooms and spaces for hire.

20,000ft Uphill battle for YMCA Thames Gateway’s CEO


29 June 2019

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…

Planning approval for flat build in Romford


2 May 2019

 

Could you sleep rough for one night?


January 2019:

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/

Paralysed personal trainer to challenge himself to Vitality Big Half marathon for Romford’s YMCA

PUBLISHED:  17 January 2019

Michael Jelly-Mead, 27, will be taking on the Vitality Big Half marathon in aid of Romford's YMCA Thames Gateway.
Michael Jelly-Mead, 27, will be taking on the Vitality Big Half marathon in aid of Romford’s YMCA Thames Gateway.

A 27-year-old personal trainer who was left paralysed from the chest down is getting ready to take on a half marathon for charity.

In 2008 when he was just 17, Michael suffered from an unknown virus that left him mostly paralysed and with a severe visual impairment.

To build up his upper body strength, he joined the gym at YMCA Thames Gateway in Romford.

Since then, he has qualified as a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

Michael wants to give something back to the YMCA and so will be taking on the challenge for the Romford charity in March.

Michael said: “I love to challenge myself, so why not take up a challenge to raise funds for an organisation that gave me my first opportunity in life since becoming wheelchair bound, and support the work they do.”

To make a donation, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MichaelJellyMead

WOOLWICH YOUTH GROUP CELEBRATES WIN AT NATIONAL YOUTH CHARITY AWARDS

An inspiring youth group from YMCA Thames Gateway has beaten off competition to be crowned the Family Work Project of the Year at the charity’s national youth awards earlier this month.

RevolYOUtion triumphed over two other inspirational youth programmes at the Youth Matters 2018 awards ceremony, which was held at the exclusive central London venue, 8 Northumberland Avenue and hosted by TV presenter Miquita Oliver.

The Family work project of the Year Award recognises the groups’ outstanding commitment to building a brighter future for young people and for going the extra mile to make a real difference to their lives.

RevolYOUtion was one of three finalists to make it through to the awards night, after battling through judges’ shortlisting and an online public vote.

The group were praised by judges for their commitment to the young people living in Woolwich.

Safiyyah Jackman-Williams, one of the RevolYOUtion leaders said: “Winning YMCA Family Project of the Year 2018 is a testament to the need for young people to 

have a space where they can have important conversations on difficult subjects, issues that they’re passionate about, and topics that they often aren’t afforded the opportunity to discuss within their personal networks. RevolYOUtion would not be where it is today without the incredible young people that inspire and push forward our work, and the spirited volunteers who have made many of our projects over the past four years a reality. We appreciate YMCA Thames Gateway for their love and support, and look forward to welcoming new faces as we continue on this journey.”

Youth Matters is YMCA’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009. It celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country and also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day.

Lloyd Mitchell, Lead Youth W

orker for YMCA Thames Gateway said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to work with young people who bring both passion and determination to create change in their community.  The group are all focused on supporting the ever increasing need for young people to have a voice in our society. Providing a platform for discussion, solutions and advocacy on behalf of those who find it difficult to speak up about issues they face.

Working with them has enabled me to keep my eyes and ears close to the group so we at the YMCA can be responsive in a pro-active way.  I look forward to supporting their future endeavours, ensuring young people in Greenwich have alternative platforms to those provided by youth forums and school councils.”

Locally, YMCA Thames Gateway provides supported accommodation; children’s services including nurseries, a youth club and spaces to hire.  The charity also delivers Kitchen Social, a project funded by the Mayor of London providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds with a healthy meal during the school holidays.

January 2018

WILL YOU SLEEP ROUGH FOR ONE NIGHT SO OTHERS DON’T HAVE TO? 

YMCA Thames Gateway is calling on local residents to come together and sleep rough for one night in March to support local, homeless young people.

The local youth charity, which has worked in the area for over 130 years, is hosting a Sleep Easy fundraiser in Central Park, Dartford on Friday 16 March 2018.  The event will see participants sleep on the street for an evening to not only raise money but also awareness of youth homelessness.

YMCA Thames Gateway is one of several local YMCAs across the country that have joined forces to raise awareness during the national Sleep Easy Week (9 to 16 March).  Hundreds of supporters are expected to sleep out all over the country to raise funds to help YMCA continue to support residents and young people in its services.

It is hoped that this year’s coordinated fundraising week will help YMCA Thames Gateway raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market.

Dave Ball, YMCA Thames Gateway’s Chief Executive, said: “Without the support we offer, many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential.

“We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up for Sleep Easy and help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime of difference.”

To register for the Sleep Easy event with YMCA Thames Gateway visit their website at www.ymcatg.org or email sleepeasy@ymcatg.org.

October 2017

YMCA Thames Gateway joined forces with YMCAs across the UK and Ireland last week to support a major mental health campaign, as new research reveals the damaging effects of negative language and stereotypes about mental health.

Research from YMCA showed that ‘psycho’, ‘retard’ and ‘attention seeker’ were among the most commonly used words, as two thirds (66%) of young people who have seen or heard harmful words and negative stereotypes relating to mental health say it is simply part of everyday language.

More Than Words, published on World Mental Health Day, as part of the YMCA and NHS #IAMWHOLE campaign, also showed that 44% of those who have heard or seen negative stereotypes did so on a weekly basis, with young people coming across an average of 33 different words and terms.

In support of #IAMWHOLE 2017 YMCA Thames Gateway launched the research at their Romford site. Alongside this they held an information event for the general public to find out more about local mental health services alongside organisations such as Havering Mind, Samaritans, NELFT, as well as offering a free massage.

Researchers spoke to more than 2,000 11-24 year olds and found that even though nearly nine in ten (88%) young people who have come across stereotypes and negative words think they should be challenged, less than half (48%) have done so.

The research also showed the damaging impact of harmful language is evident as more than half (55%) of young people who have been on the receiving end say it stops them from talking about their difficulties.

More Than Words has been launched as part of #IAMWHOLE’s 2017 activity, which is supported by high profile names including YouTuber, Zoella; former World Champion boxer, Ricky Hatton; TV presenters Matt Johnson, Anna Williamson; Soccer AM host, Lloyd Griffith and music artists including Professor Green and Ella Eyre.

#IAMWHOLE 2017 is being fronted by rock band, Nothing But Thieves – who have recorded an exclusive version of the title track from their hit album ‘Broken Machine’ to support the campaign, as well as last year’s campaign lead Jordan Stephens from Rizzle Kicks.

Dave Ball, Chief Executive for YMCA Thames Gateway said:

“Negative language surrounding mental health is so engrained into our everyday language it makes it almost impossible to tackle stigma if we don’t change the way we talk about people experiencing mental health difficulties.

While everyone knows how damaging insults can be, it’s the more subtle elements of how we talk about the issue that really discourages young people from speaking out.

Most of us use words unintentionally, not realising the damaging consequences of our comments. We need to start challenging people on the way they talk and also challenge ourselves. This is why we support the #IAMWHOLE campaign to help everyone better understand mental health and tackle stigma one word at the time.” 

Other findings from the research report include:

  • More than four in five (81%) young people have heard negative words and stereotypes about mental health
  • 60% of young people said social media is where they most frequently saw negative words and stereotypes about mental health
  • 72% of those hearing or seeing negative language and stereotypes believe social media is the most common place for people pick these up
  • Only 30% of young people who have heard or seen stereotypes and negative language say they are used with the intent to cause harm, with the majority (79%) putting their use down to a lack of understanding about mental health.
  • 74% of young people who have heard and seen negative words and stereotypes say people must be educated about mental health to stop these, while 70% say talking about mental health will help tackle the issue.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the campaign can do so by posting an #IAMWHOLE selfie on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more information about #IAMWHOLE and this year’s campaign activity, visit www.whole.org.uk.

 

#IAMWHOLE Event on 10 October

On World Mental Health Day, 10 October, YMCA Thames Gateway and Havering MIND are hosting an information event at YMCA Thames Gateway, Rush Green Road, Romford.

The pop-in event is open between 2pm – 5.30pm and will give members of the public a chance to find out more about local services available around mental health. There will be a range of stall holders who can provide tools and information to support you.

The event is being held as part of the #IAMWHOLE campaign run by YMCA England. It is a nationwide anti-stigma mental health campaign being launched on Monday 10 October by YMCA England & Wales and the NHS. It is being backed by celebrities including Ed Sheeran, Dermot O’Leary and James Corden and is fronted by UK musician Jordan Stephens (from the band, Rizzle Kicks).

The campaign focuses on young people and a range of materials available for schools and anyone working with young people will be available.

If you are interested in coming along on the day there is no need to book, just pop in.

If you work in mental health or offer a service that supports positive mental health and are interested in having a stall get in touch.

For further information on the event call 01708 770423.

Enter the Y Dragon inclusive 5k fun run raises over £3k!

Over £3,000  was raised by YMCA Thames Gateway at their first ever ‘Enter the Dragon’ 5K Fun Run in St Raphael’s Park in Romford back in July. Over 30 people took part including participants of the YMCA’s specialist fitness programme which supports cancer and stroke rehabilitation.

Jon Whatling was one of the members who is recovering from a stroke who took part, Jon said “Since having a stroke, I have been coming to the YMCA Thames Gateway in Romford to help with my recovery. The support and encouragement and specialist fitness service they offer is tremendous. We had a great day at St Raphael’s Park and I’m pleased that so much money was raised. I didn’t dream when I first had my stroke that I’d be walking 5km again! The sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line was amazing.”

Alongside the Enter the Dragon Fun Run the YMCA Thames Gateway CEO, Dave Ball took part in a 187 mile off-road cycling challenge through the backbone of Wales. Dave said “It was a difficult challenge and there were times when I really didn’t think I’d make it to the end. But what really kept me going was knowing that the money I was raising was going towards our cancer and stroke rehabilitation programmes at the YMCA and thinking about the difference this makes to people.

All the money raised will be used to support cancer and stroke rehabilitation programmes at the YMCA Fitness. If you’d like to find out more about these programmes contact 01708 766211 or there is still time to donate at www.ymcatg.org.

GLA Funding

18 July 2017

YMCA Thames Gateway set to build 100 new affordable homes

YMCA Thames Gateway has been successful in securing £6m from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to build 100 much needed new homes, as part of the Mayor of London’s affordable housing programme.

The homes, which will be built in Barking and Dagenham, Thamesmead and Havering, will increase YMCA Thames Gateway’s offer to house young people at risk of homelessness in their key Boroughs. Tracy White, Director of Housing, YMCA Thames Gateway says: “This grant is great news for us and for the young people we work with in the area.  This funding will help us to pilot a new and exciting housing model called YAspire. It is an exciting model which has been developed by YMCATG, which seeks to provide homeless young people with accommodation alongside space to develop their entrepreneurial skills.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want to see everyone playing their part in tackling the housing crisis in London, because it is simply unacceptable that Londoners continue to be priced out of a city they call home.

“We know that solving the housing crisis is not going to happen overnight, but I very much welcome so many housing associations and councils matching my ambition by committing to build the new and genuinely affordable homes Londoners so desperately need.

“I am delighted that we have set a City Hall record for the number of homes allocated funding –  but I am clear that we have got much more to do to secure the land we need to build homes and ensure we have sufficient capacity in the construction industry.”

MAY 2017

Election

Local youth charity calls on political candidates to take on national YMCA manifesto recommendations

A youth charity from Romford is calling on local political candidates to listen to the voices of young people who have been given a platform in this year’s General Election through a national YMCA manifesto.

YMCA Thames Gateway, which supports young people across Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich and Dartford, has given its backing to the national YMCA manifesto that lists more than 40 recommendations for the next government, all inspired by consultations with young people across the country.

The recommendations cover a diverse range of subjects that matter to young people today, including access to housing, mental health support, apprenticeships and physical health and wellbeing.

Dave Ball, Chief Executive of YMCA Thames Gateway, said: “Only 43% of young people voted in the last General Election and, as such, young people’s voices can be easily ignored by political candidates and decision makers.

“We’re backing this manifesto because it puts young people back at the centre of political debate, ensuring that the issues that matter most to them are highlighted in the run up to 8 June.

“Young people have the most to gain – and the most to lose – from the policies of any future government and that is why we’re calling on our local candidates to put YMCA’s recommendations front and centre of their policies in the coming years.”

The charity runs a range of services locally including supported accommodation, a fitness centre and a range of children’s & youth services. It is part of a nationwide YMCA federation of 116 local charities that, combined, works across 740 communities and supports 630,000 people.

Download:  YMCA Manifesto 2017 v1.0

APRIL 2017

YMCA Thames Gateway backs new national research that shows apprenticeships boost young people’s career prospects

YMCA Thames Gateway has spoken out about the positive impacts of apprenticeships as new research is released today that shows four in five young people would recommend them to others and more than three quarters say they have improved their skills and career prospects.

Work in Progress – a report released by YMCA ahead of the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy that will help secure funding for three million apprenticeship starts over the course of this Parliament – showed that young people overwhelmingly backed the benefits of a vocational route into work.

YMCA Thames Gateway, which offers a number of apprenticeships across their service areas in Romford and Dartford, said young people should be made aware of the positive benefits of an apprenticeship, to help them in their career choices.

In fact, almost four in five young people (79%) who took part in the research said they were offered a job at the end of their apprenticeship while more than three quarters said it helped to improve their responsibilities (77%), satisfaction (78%) and salary (81%) when in the workplace.

However, despite the positive prospects they afford, young people also highlighted to YMCA a number of concerns around apprenticeships, including the perception of them as a second class route to work with less than one in four (22%) receiving information on them from teachers and lecturers.

Young people also spoke of the difficulties they had covering basic living costs while on the schemes as well as coping with work-study balance. YMCA found that many had no choice but to study at home and on weekends during their apprenticeship due to a lack of time in core working hours.

Dave Ball, Chief Executive of the charity, said:

 “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to earn while they learn the necessary skills needed for today’s job market and they are a positive experience for the majority.

 “Not only do they prepare young people for the workplace, but they also provide effective routes into employment and we have seen first-hand how learning new skills can boost young people’s overall confidence and set them up for a positive future.

“However, while we welcome the Government’s focus on investing in the value of apprenticeships, we believe there is still room for improvement.

“Young people need better careers advice in schools to open up further options to them, a more realistic work-study balance that protects them from exploitation and improved support from employers to help them afford basic living costs. By putting these provisions in place, more young people will rightfully see apprenticeships as the progressive option our research has proven them to be.”

More than 400 young people with experience of apprenticeships aged 16 to 26 years old and from across England and Wales fed into Work in Progress. Other findings include:

  • Almost two thirds of young people (63%) were left to search the internet to find out about apprenticeships.
  • More than a third of young people (34%) felt more could be done to improve the amount of support and advice available prior to undertaking an apprenticeship.
  • A third of former young apprentices (34%) said they would have liked to have spent more time studying while almost a quarter (24%) said they found it difficult to balance study and work elements of their apprenticeships.
  • Just over one third of young people (35%) said the salary they received while on an apprenticeship was enough to cover basic living costs.

For more information on YMCA Thames Gateway visit www.ymatg.org

 

MARCH 2017

 

JANUARY 2017

HOMELESS CHARITY ASKS THE PUBLIC TO SLEEP ROUGH

YMCA Thames Gateway is urging local residents and businesses to take part in its Sleep Easy fundraiser to support local homeless young people.

The event, which will see people sleep rough for one night to raise awareness of youth homelessness and funds for the local youth charity, will take place on Friday 3 March at the charity’s site in Rush Green Road in Romford.  The night will include a competition to design the best shelter for the night as well as some songs and stories around the campfire.

YMCA Thames Gateway has hosted Sleep Easy events since 2010 and has raised over £20,000 in that time.  Money brought in helps the charity to change the lives of the vulnerable young people it supports every day.

It is hoped that the event will help YMCA Thames Gateway raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market.

Dave Ball, YMCA Thames Gateway’s Chief Executive, said: “We know from our experience over the past 47 years that without the support we offer, many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options and less chance of realising their potential.

“Homelessness is no respecter of persons and can affect any one of us at short notice; factors such as a national shortage of housing plus the ongoing effects of the economic recession combined with government policies – particularly reforms and cuts to housing benefit will only make matters worse and we are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up to our Sleep Easy event to help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night out can make a lifetime difference.”

To register for the Sleep Easy event with YMCA Thames Gateway visit their website at www.ymcatg.org or contact the Sleep Easy team on 01708 766211.

NOVEMBER 2016

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September 2016

110 birthday feature
starts at home sept 16

August 2016

go a mile aug16

June 2016

Boccia team through to the Nationals!

June 3, 2016

As a result of winning all of their games in the South East 2 league, our Boccia team have made it through to the Nationals in Sheffield!

This year over 75 teams competed in the fixtures and YMCATG is one of the 16 teams through to the final round. If successful the team will also have a chance to qualify for the Super League team for the next season. The competition is being held on Saturday 2 July at Ponds Forge Sports Complex in Sheffield’s city centre.

DSC_0447Boccia has been played at Romford since 2000 as part of our Sportsability programme and we are well known in the boroughs of Havering and Barking & Dagenham for running Boccia. We now run and host school competitions as well as competitions for the Lords Taverner’s and the Schools National Pan Disability competition.Sessions run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at our Romford branch.

In honour of the event we are hosting a race night on the same day as the competition and are hoping to raise money for new boccia equipment.  If you would like tickets or further information, please contact us on 01708 766211.

April 2016

DB interview April 16 db interview p2 april 16 db interview p3 april16

March 2016

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February 2016

sleep easy advert 2016

Cuts could leave young in the cold, 21 August 2015

Denis Article copy

 

Charity chief set for gruelling cycle, 21 August 2015

Dave Ball South Downs Article copy

 

‘Don’t scrap housing benefit for youngsters’ says YMCA (5 June 2015)

 

Youth Charity to hold a Q&A session for young people (10 April 2015)

Young people will be given the opportunity to question prospective parliamentary candidates for the upcoming General Election at a hustings event organised by YMCA Romford and the London Borough of Havering’s Youth Service next week.

The event, which will focus on young people aged 13-25 will be held on Thursday 23 April at Myplace in Harold Hill.

Young people in the Hornchurch and Upminster constituency are being encouraged to attend the event so that they can have a voice in the run up to the general election.

Candidates within the constituency have been invited to the event and will have the chance to engage with young people on the issues that affect them.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Engagement, Councillor Wallace said “This is a great opportunity for young people to engage in civic life, and get their voices heard. They will be able to ask pertinent questions to the Parliamentary Candidates about issues that affect them. The audience will be made up of first time voters and those who will be voting in upcoming elections.Young people often feel left out of political discussions, but as the country’s future workforce and future leaders is it essential that they are given the opportunity to meet and question the local candidates in each area about the topics that are important to them.”

The event will be chaired by YMCAs CEO, Dave Ball and will run from 7.00pm until 8.30pm.  Doors will open at 6.00pm for food and refreshments.

Cancer programme helping more young people (1 April 2015)

Romford YMCA will be continuing to work in partnership with Havering Council after being awarded a three-year contract to deliver a free 12-week health and wellbeing programme to local residents who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The programme, which launched last January, offers patients over the age of 16 a range of activities including group exercise classes, gym sessions and a walking programme.  Activities are offered both during and after treatment and are tailored according to individual needs, and accommodate all levels of fitness.  A team of four specialist cancer rehabilitation instructors lead the programme.

Speaking about her experience on the programme, Ann Whittington said “This programme was excellent with the added bonus that a friend or partner could accompany and act as cheerleader when required. 

Once the treatments for cancer cease it can seem that you are a little adrift as your weeks have been filled with hospital appointments, procedures etc. Going to the gym put a structure back into our week and that really helped when trying to get back to a normal life and routine.

HELLOMOTOWhilst ridding a person of the cancer, operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy wreak havoc on the fitness, stamina and mental health of the sufferer – this programme helps to rectify this and set you back on the path to an active life again.”

There are many benefits to keeping active before, during and after treatment.  These include reducing tiredness, relieving pain, improving bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight and improving general fitness levels.
Romford YMCA s Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, Viki Bainsfair, said “we are delighted to be able to continue to deliver a programme that makes such a positive difference to people who have been through life changing treatment.”

Patients can either be referred to the scheme by their doctor or health professional or can refer themselves, when they are ready to undertake light exercise.

For further details about the programme please call YMCA Romford on 01708 766211.

Ann pictured left on a recent skiing holiday.

Youth charity calls for change to improve chances for young people (13 March 2015)

A new manifesto, launched by national youth charity, YMCA, is calling on politicians from all political parties to consider the needs of young people, the future generation.

The 30 page manifesto, ‘We Believe’ which draws on the experience and opinions of young people across the country, highlights five key areas for change: housing and accommodation, family work, health and wellbeing, training and education, democracy and youth engagement.

Recommendations made in the manifesto, range from a need to build more affordable housing,

The 30 page manifesto, ‘We Believe’ which draws on the experience and opinions of young people across the country, highlights five key areas for change: housing and accommodation, family work, health and wellbeing, training and education, democracy and youth engagement.

manifesto launchRecommendations made in the manifesto, range from a need to build more affordable housing, through to proposals for a ‘Help to Rent’ scheme which could help more young people negotiate the challenges of saving for a deposit and costly monthly rents as well as better mental health support and incentives to encourage companies to take on more young apprentices.

Staff and young people from YMCA Romford went to the Houses of Parliament last week to support the launch and had the opportunity to speak to Stephen Timms, MP and Shadow Minister for Employment and Jack Dromey, MP on some of the issues that affect them.  Julie Hilling, MP hosted the launch.

YMCA Romford resident, Joanne Whatmore attended the launch and was in support of the recommendations set down in the manifesto.  The 23 year old spoke about some of the challenges young people face and in particular how benefit sanctioning affected her and many of her peers:  “Many of the sanctions are unrealistic and unfair and can lead to benefits being stopped, sometimes for up to a month which can leave many young people in a vicious circle of debt.”  Joanne has been living at YMCA Romford for 18 months and is currently seeking employment.

Rachel Dyne, Housing Support Worker at YMCA Romford was also at the launch and spoke about the challenges young people face: “Young people represent the future of our country. In our work, we constantly find ourselves supporting young people who are keen to learn skills, pursue job opportunities or who, once someone takes time to listen, reveal big plans and ideas for how they would like to contribute to the local community.

However, limited educational opportunities, a lack of suitable jobs and an inflexible welfare system can leave young people feeling cast aside and unsupported. With a just a little bit of extra help to help them on their way in life, the young people of our country would be able to give back so much. It makes sense for representatives from all political parties to listen to the recommendations in our Manifesto.”

To pledge your support for the YMCA manifesto, and call for more support for young people, simply visit: www.ymca.org.uk/webelieve.  To download a copy of the full manifesto, visit: www.ymca.org.uk/manifesto

YMCA Romford residents speak out on unemployment issues  (February 2015)

imf rymca picYoung people from YMCA Romford met with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently to talk about the issues surrounding youth unemployment.

The IMF promotes growth and poverty reduction on a global scale as well as providing policy advice and financing to countries facing economic difficulties.

The IMF’s Senior External Relations officer, Hyun-Sung Khang spoke to three of Romford YMCA’s young residents on issues such as job seekers allowance, housing benefits and looking for work.  They also talked about the social isolation and anxiety they had experienced as a result of being unemployed and feeling as though they were slipping further and further from the job market.

YMCA Romford Housing Support Worker, Rachel Dyne talked about her role and how the YMCA supports young people facing unemployment and said “YMCA works with young people within the framework of the Red Triangle, a symbol for YMCA for 170 years; working with young people to address their mind, body and spirit needs in a holistic way to enable our residents to fulfil their own potential and reach their goals. We believe that everyone is an individual with their own story to tell and should be treated as such.”

The interview will form part of a piece of research that the IMF are doing on youth unemployment across Europe.

Click here to access the 170th Birthday article online

Youngsters honoured for charity work (1 April 2015)

yma14 press release

Delight as bright stars celebrate hard work and success (10 October 2014)

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Young people aren’t just a priority (2014)

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‘Horse Race’ a winner for good causes (2014)

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Chamber of commerce chief is pampered at a buzzing business expo (?????? 2014)

havering business expo

Night outside helps rough sleepers (2014)

sleep easy cutting

Local lads in running for top award (2013)

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Many ways to ensure you are fit for purpose (27 September 2013)

Romford ambassadors to develop Nepal tourism project (16 September 2013)

Gym gear donation to Sierra Leone (2013)

‘Off-ice’ the skate trend (2013)