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Learn more about what the YMCA means to the people we serve
Graham Oatridge - CEO
Visiting different YMCAs coincided with some significant changes in my own life. I already had one son but then came another……and another…..and another! All of a sudden, things had got serious! As all parents will tell you, parenthood seems to exacerbate a set of feelings including love, stress, anxiety and exhaustion. It really does change you, or at least it did for me. I began to reflect on my own childhood, one that at the time seemed pretty standard yet on reflection was one of fortune.
And this is where my connection with what the YMCA stands for really began to solidify. You see, as I travelled around different YMCAs their buildings and services could look very different but one thing often stood out….and that is there are some incredibly committed and passionate staff that are determined to do their best for young people that don’t have the love and support network that I have been fortunate to have. If anything happens to my relationship with my children, I know that I want someone like the YMCA to step in and guide them because to me this guarantees that they are going to have someone who has their back, that will offer support and show them kindness.
Mike Margeson OBE - Program Operations & Safety Manager
I have had the absolute privilege to work for National Council and now YMCA Fylde Coast since February 1982 . I have seen at first hand the commitment and vision of so many colleagues in the YMCA to the development of its work with young people at Lakeside.
In fact over that time I have seen three Lakeside re-developments and huge investments by the YMCA at Lakeside. The major development of North Camp opened by Princess Diana, the first re-development of the South Camp opened by Sir Cliff Richard and the recent £6.5 million state of the art Stoller Campus in August 2019.
However what is most important to me is the amazing YMCA staff team. Every year the team make over 8,000 young people’s experiences at YMCA Lakeside memorable and in some cases life changing.
As I look forward with everything that communities and young people have had to experience in the last few years, there has never been a more important time for our work with young people and their health and wellbeing. Recently, many have come to recognize the importance and value of time spent outdoors can bring to our health and wellbeing. I truly believe that our work in outdoor education at YMCA Lakeside has never been more important.
Kerry Flint - YMCA Housing Manager
I decided I needed a job but had been a stay at home mum for most of my working life and didn’t have a career. I had worked various jobs and had several NVQ’s with experience in lots of roles but I really wasn’t sure which direction to go. My daughter suggested I’d be a good support worker so I sent in my application form and was offered a position as a bank support worker.
It’s the best thing I ever did!
At first it was a daunting prospect, if you don’t know what is involved or have little or no experience but I wasn’t put off and with the support of my manager and colleagues quickly came to love the job.
Being a Support Worker means making a positive difference in someone’s life. Making a real change to the lives of the people you provide support for and their community of friends, family and carers.
YMCA gave me the chance to build a career. I’ve learnt transferrable skills and valuable experience, and with ambition, you really can work up the ladder. I hadn’t really considered career progression at first but after 3 years as a support worker I became Manager of YMCA Harbour House.
Heather Turner - YMCA Young People
organisation was very limited. Fast forward many years later and the ethos and values are very much of part of whom I have become.
The YMCA has enabled me to be the best version of myself and also become
super proud of how the YMCA allows the Young People we work with to explore new opportunities and grow as young people.
Being part of the Young People team is very rewarding, I work with a fantastic, caring and supportive team who go above and beyond to help young people move forwards and grow to their best ability.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing children laughing and enjoying themselves. Here at Lancaster, we pride ourselves on the
fact that everyone who walks through our doors are made to feel welcome, unjudged and safe.
Cameron - YMCA Housing Resident
Cameron lived in our YMCA supported accommodation at the Foyer in Fleetwood from the summer of 2021. He grew up in Lytham and attended St Bede’s High School before completing a diploma in sport at college. However, shortly after finishing his diploma, a family breakdown made life at home increasingly difficult. Cameron admits that he started to experiment with drugs, accruing excessive amounts of debt in the process.
Cameron was asked to leave his family home after daily arguments started to occur more readily and his home life became an unhealthy environment to live in. “My life started to spiral out of control and mediation at home did not work. This led me to contact the YMCA to see if they could help.”
Looking back on when he first arrived at the Foyer, Cameron described himself as feeling “unmotivated” and “hopeless,” going on to say, “I was struggling to build any self-belief and I had no sense of achievement.”
As with all young people we accommodate at YMCA Foyer, our Support Workers worked alongside Cameron to develop a support plan that included small manageable achievable targets for him to aim for. Regular support meetings helped to increase his confidence and also his hope for the future.
Cameron said, “I enrolled on to an Employment & Resilience Course led by the YMCA. I noticed quickly that not only did I start to receive training to improve my CV, but my health and wellbeing improved as a result. I started to concentrate on this and through the ongoing help I received, I kicked my drug habit.”
Through attendance of his weekly support sessions, it was noticed swiftly by the YMCA Foyer support staff that Cameron’s motivation had improved and that he started to recognise his own abilities and self- worth.
Soon after, an opportunity arose for Cameron to apply for an apprenticeship programme with DWP in Blackpool. Using his improved confidence and skills and after an arduous selection process, Cameron was chosen! Cameron has since moved on after completing his apprenticeship programme and now works in full-time employment within the public service sector. “I am so happy,” Cameron said.
“I feel so much better in myself. I have new and improved confidence, self-esteem, and a great job. I get to help others who have been through similar traumas like myself. I could not have done it without all the help I received from the YMCA and the staff there. I am now also starting to build up better relations with my family and siblings.”
Not only has Cameron secured a great job, but he has also recently moved in to independent living accommodation at our brand new development on Victoria Road in St Annes.
Cameron, we couldn’t be more proud of you!