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YMCA Black Country Group welcomes Lord-Lieutenant Mr John Crabtree OBE to explore YMCA Open Door

Lord-Lieutenant Mr John Crabtree OBE, of the West Midlands, visited YMCA Black Country Group along with Ian Austin MP, to find out more about the Supported Lodgings and Emergency Accommodation Service, YMCA Open Door.

Since 2009, YMCA Open door provides housing to young people aged 16-25 in the homes of trained and approved volunteer Hosts, across the Black Country.

During the visit, the Lord-Lieutenant spent time speaking to the staff, co-ordinators and service users to discuss YMCA Open Door and reflected on how the project has impacted the lives of young people throughout the Black Country.

Whilst young people are in the placement, they are supported by their Host and Project Worker to gain the skills they need to live independently. The relationship built between the Hosts and young people can be life changing, with many going on to form life lasting bonds and support networks.

Lord-Lieutenant Mr John Crabtree OBE said: “I had a very enjoyable visit to YMCA in West Bromwich (recently) but more to the point, I learned so much about the tremendous work they are undertaking. I heard first-hand from a young person in Supported Lodgings how YMCA’s support had made such an extraordinary contribution to their general wellbeing but also provided a real sense of purpose and direction in their lives. It was a truly heart-warming morning and I came away determined to find ways of helping the organisation to expand and develop their work – so critical at a time of continuing challenges to Local Authority budgets”.

Sally Cowan, Chief Housing Officer said: “Supported Lodgings achieves amazing results for the young people that access support whilst also harnessing the capabilities of the community. It provides an alternative to Supported Housing and is a cost effective solution to meeting the needs of vulnerable young people.”

For more information about YMCA Open Door contact Rachael Taylor, Project Manager on 0121 5241950, Rachael.taylor@ymcabc.org.uk or visit www.ymcabc.org.uk.


The Glebe Centre receives support from major UK funder

Major UK funder says charities across the West Midlands are innovating to meet high levels of social need


The Garfield Weston Foundation more than doubles its £5m anniversary fund to over £11m to support over 150 charities after overwhelming demand

One of the UK’s largest charitable funders says small community charities are rising to the challenges of unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative. The Garfield Weston Foundation says it has more then doubled its £5m capital fund to over £11m so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK.

The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60% from charities that have never applied to them before.


The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, says:

“What really impressed our Trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive – regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.

The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”


From community centres providing services for isolated older people to organisations tackling youth and gang crime, the funding from the Weston Anniversary Fund will help charities from across the UK provide more and better services in their communities. A recent survey by the Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of small charities expect their income to stay the same or decline this year, yet over half (55%) expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building has been highlighted by charities as important as it helps them earn new income.

The YMCA Black Country Group works with over a 1,000 young people a year across the Black Country area and supports over 350 homeless people at its day centre (The Glebe Centre) in Walsall. The charity have been awarded £88,000 from the Weston Anniversary Fund, which will enable them to refurbish the building to provide a new kitchen, new showers and toilets, a laundry area and training room.


Pauline Tomlinson, Chief Officer Enterprise and Communities, says the improvements will enable them to provide many more services to the local homeless community.

“The Glebe Centre is the only place in Walsall where homeless people can get a shower, change of clothes, medical advice, housing support, with meals provided twice a day along with help with their complex issues all under one roof. We couldn’t quite believe it when we heard the news that we had been successful in applying for funding and we are so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation. The renovation of the Centre will make such a difference to those people we support.

The impact of the Foundation’s funding will be wide reaching – we will have an environment that enables homeless rough sleepers to feel valued and it will increase our capacity to provide effective support within an environment that will now be ‘fit for purpose’. Renovating the building will help us to support many more people.”


Gemma Marchewka turned to the Glebe when she needed help.

“The Glebe has helped in so many ways. They helped me get a doctor so I could get medication for my depression. I now have a mental health nurse and have met my support worker who has helped with clothing etc. Without the Glebe I don’t know where I would be. Before I came here I couldn’t see a future but in just a few weeks my life has changed. Without the Glebe I would be on the streets – hungry, dirty, and possibly on drugs.”


Accommodation Available

We have a number of spaces at the accommodation projects around the Black Country.

There are some age restrictions on some of the projects but the staff would be happy to chat with you and give you all the details about the project.

If you are in need of supported accommodation then please call the number for the areas that would suit you.


Suited for Success

A homeless group supported by YMCA Black Country Group spent the day at Suited for Success on Wednesday 11th October.

The group have been on a programme called ‘This is Me’ based at the Glebe centre in Walsall.

The aim of the five week programme is to support homeless men and women into accommodation, address personal challenges and gain employment. 


Eleanor Smith MP visits YMCA Talent Match

YMCA Black Country Group, Talent Match, Wolverhampton Hub received a wonderful visit from the MP Eleanor Smith, MP (Labour) Wolverhampton South West.

The Hub was well attended with mentees who were excited to talk to Eleanor about the support they receive from the Mentors through the Talent Match project.  FIND OUT MORE

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.


Greets Green Day Nursery Raise Funds for Glebe Centre

After raising money for The Glebe Centre at their family fun day the team at YMCA Greets Green Day Nursery had an opportunity to donate all the items they managed to buy for the people who benefit from the Glebe’s support.

Staff and Volunteers at the Glebe Centre ensure that everyone they come into contact with has the opportunity and support to start a good quality life.


Badger Court Receive Chief Constable Community Awards

Kate Hinsley, Support Worker at YMCA’s Badger Court project in Wolverhampton have along with the project itself, have been awarded for their hard work by West Midlands Police in protecting YMCA residents from Child Sexual Exploitation.


New YMCA Housing Project in Dudley

Highland Road YMCA Black Country Group provides supported accommodation in Dudley to assist young people in their journey from homelessness to independent living.

Our accommodation is located on Highland Road and works with 16-17 year olds with Children’s Services input, Care Leavers and Young vulnerable people aged up to 24 years.


YMCA Glebe Centre Receives Royal Honours

The outstanding efforts and tireless dedication of volunteers working at a homeless centre run by YMCA Black Country, has been honoured with the UK’s highest award for volunteering.

The Glebe Centre in Walsall, which provides vital lifeline services to rough sleepers in the area, as well as support for people with drug and alcohol addictions and the long-term unemployed, has been handed the distinguished Queen’s Award for its volunteering programme.


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