The Beginning


George Williams formed the first YMCA, in London in 1844. Since then the YMCA has grown to have over 148 Local Associations of which Wolverhampton is one of them. The central purpose of all YMCAs is to meet the needs of young people particularly in times of need and regardless of their gender race, ability or faith.


YMCA begins to spread across the globe, as YMCAs are established in the USA and Canada.


YMCA leaders meet in Paris and agree the founding ‘first principle’ for YMCAs across the world, the Paris Basis.


The American YMCA opens its first gym.


West Bromwich & District YMCA was formed in 1888 and met in St Michael’s Street, with the aim to “bring the young men of the town together by organising Bible and prayer meetings coupled with physical activities.


The American YMCA invents basketball and goes on to invent volleyball in 1895.
Early 1900s


The first YMCA in Wolverhampton was based in Darlington Street in the former School of Art building.


The first purpose built hostels are built in London and Cardiff.


During World War I, the British YMCA extends its work across the Channel to support the troops

Walsall YMCA is known to have been operational. General Ironmongers Mr FB Shuffrey being the Chairman and Treasurer.


YMCA sets up the British Boys for British Farms initiative which benefits 25,000 young people.


YMCA continues its war work and mobile canteens are introduced to bring refreshments to the troops.


Many English YMCAs start opening youth clubs to promote young people’s personal development.


YMCA moved to its current site on Carters Green when John Lees House (named after Major John Lees whose father founded J.B. & S. Lees Ltd., steel manufacturers of West Bromwich) was converted, providing 47 study bedrooms and a one storey recreational area for overseas students and apprentices who had come to West Bromwich to work in the local industry.


YMCA Training for Life is launched to help unemployed young people. YMCA Training has supported over a million people to date.


The foundation stone was laid for Cadbury House, the first YMCA purpose-built residential block with self-catering units ever to be constructed in Britain.


Y Care International, the overseas development agency of YMCA in the UK and Ireland, is established.


Wolverhampton YMCA re-established its work in the City, where work was centered in the Dovecotes, Pendeford area of the City working primarily with young girls and women’s groups.


Badger Court became the first Foyer project in the City developing


The second Foyer project opened in Rugeley, Staffordshire.


The Bridge project – a structured day programme designed to support people recovering from substance misuse, was formed in partnership with Safer Wolverhampton Partnership and Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust.


West Bromwich & District YMCA and Wolverhampton YMCA merged to create YMCA Black Country Group to provide a strong base from which the YMCA could continue to provide opportunities for young people to develop in body, mind & spirit across the Black Country and South Staffordshire.


Saw the beginning of the largest development in YMCA Black Country Group’s history. With the redevelopment and refurbishment of their site on Carters Green.

Today YMCA helps over 58 million people in 119 countries worldwide, working with young men and women regardless of race, religion or culture.