Debbie’s Blog #4 – Celebrating YMCA History

October 21, 2019

Last month YMCA Humber had the privilege of hosting the first stop-off of a national tour of a history exhibition celebrating 175 years of the YMCA. The tour started in London and is only visiting 10 locations and so it was an honour for Grimsby to be the first week-long calling point.

We chose to host the exhibition at the Central Hall in Grimsby. We have ambitious plans to build a new YMCA Humber facility just around the corner from the Hall, we’re committed to being a community leader in this area and couldn’t miss the opportunity to use this iconic, fabulous venue. We had hundreds of local people through the door, the highlight being the day dedicated to local schools and colleges.

On 6 June 1844 George Williams gathered a small group of friends together, in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral to put together a number of activities that would enable young people to build a better life for themselves, and thus form the YMCA. People who visited the exhibition learned so much about the work of the YMCA movement; our connection to Clementine Churchill and Terry Waite; the fact that the YMCA invented basketball and so much more!

The exhibition also gave us the chance to showcase our own YMCA Humber history display. We’ve been serving the local community since James Kirkby Riggall began the organisation locally in 1882 in so many ways. No doubt people who came to the exhibition will have been surprised by the breadth of work undertaken by the YMCA. And I think this will still be the case locally. So many local people only think of YMCA Humber as a ‘homeless charity’. It’s true, we’re very proud of the work we do to support vulnerable people who would otherwise be homeless, providing accommodation and vital support. But we are also part of the oldest and largest youth movement in the world; providing vital youth services, mental health support and training. There’s so much for the public to learn about the work of YMCA Humber, past, present and future.

Enabling young people to build a better life for themselves remains at the heart of YMCA Humber and indeed in the core values of YMCAs in over 100 counties across the globe.

Thanks to everyone who came to the exhibition and everyone locally who continues to support YMCA Humber. The national exhibition has now moved to Carrickfergus YMCA and I hope that their event will be as successful as ours. When an organisation has been around doing great work for 175 years, there really is so much to celebrate.

Take care all, Debbie

(If you belong to a community group and would like YMCA Humber to bring their local history exhibition to you to present about our work, past and present, please do just get in touch; we’d be so happy to come along).