I have always felt a sense of pride at our Nation’s ability to give to good causes. Whether it be Children in Need night or the Comic Relief evening, I usually go to bed feeling overwhelmed by the amount raised and the difference it will make. The challenging times presented by COVID-19 have raised the same emotions of national pride – over £28m raised by Captain Tom, millions of pounds raised during the Big Night In, and all at a time when people worry about the future and feel anxious about job security when this is all over. We are a nation with a big heart of that there is no doubt.
YMCA Humber has benefitted from this wonderful spirit at our yearly Sleep Easy event when we have raised money to support the homeless and vulnerable people in our community.
At YMCA Humber our supported accommodation is largely funded by housing benefit – we run our annual Sleep Easy event to enhance our services in this area beyond what housing benefit can pay for. Last year for example we funded extra meals for our residents, we also funded furniture packs for our residents moving into new accommodation and we renovated our residents’ lounge giving it a much more homely feel. This year we raised money to purchase a box van allowing us to move residents and their furniture on into their own accommodation, achieving their goal of securing their own tenancy, ensuring they have what they need.
So, what else does YMCA Humber need to raise money for? A key area of our work that is no longer funded is our youth services. The Children in Need funding for our youth clubs at Immingham and Stallingborough ran out in February and the funding we have for our youth club at The Willows will soon run out. Our youth clubs recorded over 4000 attendances in 2019; that’s young people aged 8 to 18 learning new social skills, improving their confidence, increasing their friendship groups. That is young people learning the difference between bullying and banter, learning how to interact safely on-line, learning about healthy relationships. And that is in addition to all the fun stuff they can do at our youth clubs – cooking, music, circus skills, sports, games, music and much more!
We all know that youth work offers young people safe spaces helping them to develop interpersonal skills, work with consistent, trusted adults, leading to young people making better informed choices and improved outcomes. This is work that I believe most of us would happily support – better outcomes for young people.
So, why does YMCA Humber struggle to fundraise locally? I think its due to a lack of understanding about what we do. I believe that some people in our community would be really surprised to read the positive stories recorded at our youth clubs, within our mental health project and in our accommodation; life changing stories, evidence of really impactful work done by YMCA Humber to support our community.
We have a challenge to change hearts and minds. If you are reading this blog, please do share it and help us improve the knowledge about the work of YMCA Humber in our local community – thank you. I’m incredibly proud of all the work we do, making a difference, improving life chances.
Best Wishes & Stay Safe