Jan


24

Poppy’s Story – Moving Forward Fund

Name and photo changed to protect identity. Poppy had previously lived with a partner and had their own tenancy but after a break up, Poppy found herself in a lot of debt, as all of the bills had been in her name. She saw coming to YMCA as a backward step initially and was reluctant…

Jan


15

Simon’s Story – YMCA Wren’s Nest Navigators Mentoring

YMCA have worked with a range of individuals in the Wren’s Nest area supporting them with a variety of challenges that they have faced. Simon was initially referred to YMCA Wren’s Nest Navigators for support in getting out and meeting new people and also trying to get into employment. Meeting the mentoring team was initially…

Jan


15

Az’s Story – YMCA Mentoring

Az initially sought support from the YMCA following a stroke and subsequent rehabilitation at West Park Hospital. Upon referral, AZ articulated her need for assistance in employment seeking and confidence-building, addressing her struggles with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. She also disclosed the challenges stemming from an abusive past relationship, including family exclusion, fertility issues,…

Dec


8

Zanko’s Story

Zanko arrived in the UK after fleeing from Iran in 2021 at the age of 16. Due to his age he was picked up by Children’s Services and placed with a foster family where he thrived and became part of the family, speaking very little English, Zanko was enrolled on an ESOL course. When Zanko…

Jun


15

Volunteers Dig Deep to Transform Dudley Garden

Highland Road’s garden has enjoyed a little TLC from local volunteers from Dudley Society of Artists. Terry, who is a regular volunteer offered his services to provide a relaxing and secluded space for residents to hang out in. The staff and residents of Highland Road have been working on the garden for several months, planting…

Apr


6

Phillis’ Story

Our team started working with Phillis after YMCA took over Making Connections from Accord Housing. When Rue our Making Connections Project Worker, first met Phillis she seemed down and in low mood. Phillis told me us that since her husband died she found it hard to find things to help get her out her flat….

Nov


30

Steven’s Story

Steven came to The Glebe Centre whilst he was rough sleeping in Walsall. He explained to the team he had previously been living at a local housing shelter but had been asked to leave because he “had shouted at staff and had kicked in a door that cost them £400”. Steven disclosed during his assessment,…

Nov


30

Mark’s Story

When Mark first approached our Making Connections project in Walsall, he was very low, he hadn’t long lost his companion, was already suffering with depression which meant that Mark had let his living conditions decline to a point where he would not eat as fear of entering his festering kitchen.

May


12

Ys Girls Mixer

                  Last week young people and mentors attended YMCA City Gateway for monthly mentor/Mentee mixer as part of our Y’s Girls Mentoring programme. Offering both young people and volunteers the opportunity to get to know each other and engage in group activities. The session was attended by…

Aug


11

YMCA Collaborate To Deliver The RAF Benevolent Fund Airplay Programme

YMCA Black Country Group join a collaboration of YMCA’s celebrating securing a 4-year contract to deliver the RAF Benevolent Fund’s flagship Airplay programme! Airplay is approaching its 11th birthday and is designed to help meet the social, recreational and developmental needs of over 11,000 children and young people of the serving RAF family. YMCA Black Country…

May


29

YMCA Open Door – Ryan’s Story

Ryan is an Open Door resident and has been living with his Host Robert for over 6 months. Here is his account of how YMCA Open Door and Robert have helped him get through a difficult time. If you have a spare room and think you could host a homeless young person, find out more…

Apr


23

Top tips for staying well at work

If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety. When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking…

Mar


5

Talent Match Celebrates success!

Upon joining Talent Match, Darrel was paired with his new mentor, Jay. Jay was able to help Darrel get straight onto a Customer Service Course, completing his Retail Level One and Two with the IMS Pilot Scheme. Further trying to develop Darrel’s skills for employment, Darrel and Jay worked together to get him onto an…

Dec


2

The George Williams Award

Walsall Housing staff have been developing a programme called ‘The George Williams Award’ for residents to participate in during their time at Green Lane.  The programme enables the young people to develop their skills, and be ready to move on into independence. The workbook includes fun group sessions (when not in lockdown) such as; How…

Sep


15

Saba’s Story

Saba Yafi felt compelled to pen her thoughts on how wonderful the YMCA nursery staff have been during this lockdown. Both her husband and Saba are frontline key workers. In addition to this, Saba’s parents are elderly with numerous co-morbidities which means that they are unable to provide help with childcare at this time. Saba…

Sep


12

Luke’s Story

Luke is one of the young people accessing YMCA Talent Match programme in Dudley.  This is his account of his journey, especially during COVID-19.  “I would just like to say, my journey with Black Country Talent Match has been absolutely fantastic. From start to finish they have backed up with the support and encouragement, to…

Jun


19

Dal’s Story

I have been a Supported Lodgings Host for nearly one month and this is my first placement.  It’s an exciting day today as David, the young person who has been living with me, will be introducing me to his girlfriend and he is cooking dinner for us all. Before I had a young person on…

Jun


19

Barbara’s Story

Barbara has been a Host for nearly 2 years now.  Having raised her own sons, it was a new experience for her having a female young person coming to live in her home.  Here is her story.

Jun


19

Pam’s Story

Pam has had Ryan living with her for just over 6 months.  During the COVID-19, lockdown, as a household they have used the time to do lots of activities together.

Jun


19

Rose’s Story

The YMCA places young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.  This occasionally includes young people who come to the UK as refugees and asylum seekers.  Rose has had Abubakr, (from Sudan) living with her for 2 years now.  She has provided a caring environment where Abu has been able to grow and flourish.  They get…

Jun


19

Clare and Graham’s Story

During the COVID-19 lockdown, there have been some lovely accounts from our Supported Lodgings Hosts explaining how through opening up their homes, they have been making the difference in the lives of young people.

Jun


19

Naima’s Story

Read Naima’s account of how YMCA helped her as a teenager, experiencing family breakdown, and now as a YMCA Supported Lodgings Host.  She is also helping others.

Oct


20

UNIFY Highlights Europe Youth Leadership

This Summer I had the opportunity to attend the Youth Unify leadership camp in Romania. It was at the camp I had the opportunity to meet with other young leaders and delegates from across YMCA in Europe.

Apr


20

Why Volunteer? The Glebe Centre

The Glebe Centre, Walsall is an incredible provision for the homeless community and supports people with issues around substance misuse, homelessness, mental health and unemployment. It is run by Jane and a tireless team of volunteers. We caught up with Karen, one of the Glebe’s amazing volunteers!

Dec


7

Young People’s Awards Ceremony

YMCA Black Country’s Supported Lodgings will be holding its first Young People’s Awards Ceremony at Wolverhampton Council Chambers on Wednesday 7 December. Awards will be presented by the Mayor of Wolverhampton to Young People from Supported Lodgings for outstanding achievement. Clifford Harding, winner of the Pride of Britain Award in 2013, will be the guest…

Aug


15

Loving life with the YMCA

YMCA Black Country Group has had a fantastic representation at YMCA Europe Festival in Prague this month. The theme of this year’s festival was “Love to Live”; it is an opportunity for young people from across the globe to come together and celebrate their love for life, meeting new people from all walks of life.