What housing benefit cuts could mean for Romario’s future

Romario is a young person currently being supported by YMCA Thames Gateway.  He relies on Housing Benefit to pay for much of his rent and says that Housing Benefit gave him the springboard he needed to find work. Growing up, Romario had a difficult relationship with his dad. From the age of 15, he found…

Noel discovers a passion for fitness at the YMCA

Aged just 9, Noel lost his mum. Some years later his relationship with his father broke down and Noel became homeless. By chance, Noel popped into his local Connexions centre for some advice. He was then referred to the YMCA in Romford. Jobless, Noel started volunteering in the gym and soon realised a passion for…

Michael triumphs through his setbacks

In 2008, aged just 17, Michael was struck down with an unknown virus that left him paralysed from the chest down and with a severe visual impairment. Michael had to adjust to life in a wheelchair and in order to build up his upper body strength and general fitness joined YMCA Thames Gateway’s gym. Michael became a familiar face in…

Claire goes from strength to strength through exercise

On a holiday to South Africa in 2007, Claire visited a women’s shelter that helped women and children that had suffered abuse.  Sadly the facility was in a poor state with rubbish stacked up everywhere. Up until this point Claire had been feeling quite low after the loss of her mother but witnessing for herself…

Our cancer referral programme is transforming lives

Claire is 44 years old and has two children, aged 13 and 10. She is a full time mum.  In February 2016, Claire was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The following April she had a single mastectomy and following that, radiotherapy. Prior to this diagnosis, Claire was struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome and had to take…

Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of and neither is talking about it

Brad has been living at the YMCA in Romford since July 2017 after facing problems at home which resulted in him being made homeless. “I’ve been suffering with depression and anxiety since 2007 when my Nan died. I knew I was gay but didn’t feel I could talk to my family about it and my…

Stroke rehab programme transforming lives in the local community

Every week we provide specialist rehabilitation classes for people who are recovering from strokes, cancer and other life-limiting conditions. Leslie is a familiar face at our Romford hub and goes to the gym, seated rehab classes, and plays Boccia. Les aged 63, had a stroke three years ago which left him with very little movement…

Life changing cancer recovery programme for Derek

Derek aged 58, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015. After time off work following surgery, Derek had put on weight and his Doctor recommended YMCATG’s Moving Forward Cancer Recovery Programme to help him get back on track again. The programme runs for 12 weeks and is free to anyone living in the area over the…

Youth work turning young lives like Jay’s around

Jay is 18 and lives in an Inner London estate renowned for anti-social behaviour.  As well as facing all of the pressures of a teenager, Jay is a young carer and has been caring for his mum for as long as he can remember.  His mum has Lupus, a serious condition where the body’s immune system…

#Payingitforward as a YMCA Youth Ambassador

Adele is 18 years old.  She enjoys working with children and regularly volunteers at a local charity shop.  As well as studying for A levels, Adele works for YMCA Romford part time as a birthday party host. Soon after she joined Adele heard that YMCA England and Wales were looking for young people to attend…