“THE main thing I learned from the support I received at YMCA is to be myself – I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for that advice.”
That is the frank admission of Daryl, 24, originally from Grimsby and who has returned to the area after living with his girlfriend in Bradford.
He moved to YMCA Humber’s Peaks Lane Housing Project in Grimsby in 2009 after a strained relationship with his mother reached its head over his drug use.
After several months in the project, Daryl was showing signs of progress but, by his own admission, was prone to the odd sleep. It was at this point that his key worker enquired whether he would be interested in moving into a new YMCA Humber project.
The Community House in Grimsby opened its doors in March 2010 and Daryl was one of the first young people to step into the project.
He recalled: “It was a completely different experience to anything I had had up until that point.
“The little bit of independence is a real confidence boost but, at the same time, the one-to-one support is more in-depth.
“Mark (Brewer, Community Support Coordinator) is very blunt with you but he has empathy as well – he has not just learned how to support someone from a book.
“The ways of support were very subtle – one minute you would be in the kitchen cooking a meal together and working on budgeting and, when you walked away, you would realise how much you had opened up during that time.”
And Daryl believes that approach and the overall standard of the support has got him to where he is now, with qualifications, a part-time job and hopes of securing e-factor funding for a business venture.
He said: “I used to be a ‘yes man’ and go along with what everyone else is doing – that was what led me down the wrong path at times and was responsible for any setbacks I had.
“But Mark showed confidence in me and always taught me to be myself and do what I wanted to do and not worry about what other people were doing or thinking about me.
“YMCA helped me make those massive steps that led me away from drugs and instead focussing on what I wanted from life.”
One problem that Daryl had during his time at YMCA was the fact that he was in a long distance relationship with his girlfriend in Bradford. When he was ready for independent living, he eventually made the move to West Yorkshire.
“Again I couldn’t have done that without YMCA instilling confidence in me,” stated Daryl.
“As they were showing confidence in me, I began to think about what I wanted to do and that was to move up to Bradford and settle with my girlfriend.”
A stable home and relationship was the perfect springboard for Daryl to earn the qualifications he had hoped for.
He continued: “I was able to concentrate on my studies and, during my four years in Bradford, I have passed an NVQ Level 3 in Business Admin, an NVQ Level 3 in Customer Service and an Adult & Social Care Level 2 from the Bridge Project, which is a drug treatment charity in Bradford.
“It was daunting and life changing moving to Bradford but I always went back to what I learnt at YMCA – be yourself – and it has stood me in good stead.”
And drug rehabilitation is one of the areas Daryl would like to work in now he is back in Grimsby.
He explained: “The plan was to always move back to Grimsby because I want to use my skills to make a difference in my home town.
“I would like to open a drug rehabilitation centre of my own one day, one that helps addicts recover and gives them structured routines in the day.”
But Daryl has other plans in mind too. Having secured a part-time job with a local branch of a national chain of bookmakers, he is looking into another way to help the community with assistance from e-factor.
He said: “I would like to open an internet gaming café that allows young people to come in and play games with other people from around the world over the internet.
“It would get young people off the streets and into a place where they can mix with others in person and in the online world.
“I am a big believer in online promotion and do a lot of networking through LinkedIn, so something like this makes complete sense.”
The one setback Daryl received during his time in Bradford was the news that his mother had passed away but he is determined to make her proud by achieving his ambitions and goals.
He concluded: “The reason I ended up with YMCA was because of how I let my relationship with my mother deteriorate and sadly I lost her when I was in Bradford.
“But I know she would be proud of the progress I have made and I want to make her more proud by turning my dreams into reality.”