24 March 2021

Things were difficult at home for Shandell, who, after constant arguments with his dad, decided that the best course of action was to move out of the family home.

This was a tough time for Shandell, who as a promising athlete, was struggling to stay focused and even left his athletics club of five years for a period.

Shandell’s support worker at the job centre suggested that he get in touch with the council for housing advice and he was then referred on to the YMCA. He was invited for an interview and when a room became available a few weeks later, was offered temporary accommodation.

A few weeks on and with time and space to reflect on his situation, Shandell (who is first up in the above video) started to get his life back on track.  He started a new job, and realising his passion for athletics, returned to the club and has since competed in British Athletics events for Essex County, South of England, and more recently the Muller British Championships where he came third in the long jump event.

Speaking about his time at the YMCA, Shandell said “The YMCA really helped me to put things into perspective. The support workers have helped me with financial advice and work, and I am back on track and looking forward to the future.”

Shandell hopes to become a professional athlete and to compete in the Olympics in the future.  He is also considering studying computer science at university.

Shandell has since visited his dad and their relationship is starting to improve.

With your help we can support more young people like Shandell, giving them a safe space to stay, develop life skills and realise their own potential.