LOCAL people turned out to pledge their support to YMCA Humber’s new Heritage Lottery project – A Rich History – during a launch event at St Aidan’s Church in Cleethorpes.
The charity was recently awarded £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake a 12-month project researching the history of YMCA in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area.
Launched at the event, A Rich History will see YMCA Humber utilise young volunteers to gather memories and artefacts on the charity with input from local communities.
Alan Burley, YMCA Humber’s Funding and Volunteer Coordinator, spoke at the launch about how the original bid came about.
He said: “We were having a discussion in the office about the history of YMCA in the local area and how little is really known about it.
“I mentioned that it would be nice if we could somehow come across the old minute books of the Association and a colleague pointed out that they were stored in our Management Office.
“We had a look through them and then did a brief piece of research in the internet, finding out plenty of information that we didn’t already know – so it was decided from here to pursue a Heritage Lottery bid.”
And YMCA Humber has had the support of plenty of Heritage Partners throughout the bid process, continuing throughout the remainder of the project, and representatives from two of those groups attended the launch.
Mark Eccleston is an archivist at the Cadbury Research Library in the University of Birmingham and he spoke about the importance of A Rich History.
He said: “The Cadbury Research Library holds YMCA’s national archives and unfortunately we don’t have much on Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District YMCA, as it was then known.
“That is what makes this project so important because it will have a lasting impact for generations to come.”
Alex Kyle is a member of the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Archivist Club and he is hoping that the project will have a positive contribution to local history.
He added: “We are not blessed in Grimsby and Cleethorpes with plenty of museums and places where historical references are collected, so this project will be important to the local community as a whole.
“YMCA has been in the region for over 100 years, so there will be plenty of information to gather and hopefully it encourage more young people to research local history.”
After the speeches, attendees, including Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, were given the opportunity to look through YMCA’s minute books, as well as a number of historical photos and newspaper clippings.
Claire Wollington was recently appointed as Project Manager for the A Rich History project and she spoke of her delight at the response so far.
She said: “I have run similar projects on the Grimsby Chums and with Hope Street in Grimsby and we have already had several positive messages for YMCA’s project through our Facebook page.
“And we have a number of people who attended the launch event who would are eager to volunteer on the project, so things are looking very promising already.”
You can also view the photo gallery from the launch event on our Flickr page.