YMCA’s A Gift for Good campaign gives young people opportunities and support that make a life-changing difference. From providing housing to teaching key life skills such as cooking and budgeting, we want to give gifts that make a lasting difference to the young people we serve. One of the best ways to show you the kind of impact your donation makes is to share the story of one of our residents.

Meet Simon:

Before Simon came to live in YMCA’s Children’s Residential Care Homes, he was involved with drugs, alcohol, fighting, and going missing. With a background of suspected abuse and neglect, he was first placed into care at 13, moving around the system before finally being welcomed into one of the YMCA’s homes in May 2020 – a day that would change his life forever. Simon’s most prized possessions included his snakes and gecko, which he enthusiastically showed the staff.

During the pandemic, Simon got creative in the home, experimenting with baking, making lavender rice, gardening, and playing football. When restrictions lifted, he began to enjoy go-karting, using the YMCA Gym, and making frequent visits to the pet shop.

Although Simon was able to make friends at school, a challenge arose that led to his expulsion. This was a difficult time for Simon, but the strong relationships he’d built with YMCA staff equipped him to be honest about his feelings and struggles. A proud moment for Simon was when he completed his first online certified course in Reptile Care, resulting in his first ever college interview.

Simon’s YMCA Home Manager explained: “Simon has a very caring nature, and it is heart-warming to see him showing staff what he is working on. He often says: “See – I can do it!” During his time living at YMCA, Simon has developed greater independence and the ability to regulate his emotions, learning key life skills such as opening a bank account, understanding how to budget, giving clear directions, cooking (which he loves), and food hygiene, all of which have boosted his self-esteem.

Simon’s goal is to move to semi-independent living, and staff are helping him prepare for the next steps, celebrating every positive attainment. “We are so proud of Simon’s fantastic life achievements and journey since joining our charity, and we hope to continue seeing him grow as a confident young person who is able to be empowered and comfortable with who he is.”

How you can help

This Christmas, we’re asking you to donate to the work that we do so we can help more young people like Simon. Your gift can make such a difference:

  • £10 can help us provide cooking lessons to young people who have experienced homelessness.
  • £15 can help girls aged 9-14 navigate mental health issues.
  • £25 can provide therapeutic support for children in residential care.
  • £50 can offer scholarships and life-changing opportunities for young people in low-income families.

Donate £10, £15, £25 or £50 today!