Audio Stories Reports

Those Who Help: YMCA

Reported by John

Published on Wednesday, June 12th, 2024

Community Emergency Accommodation Service Delivery
Audio Stories Reports

Those Who Help: YMCA

Written by John

Published on Wednesday, June 12th, 2024


Emergency Accommodation

Service Delivery

This is the third part of the Those Who Help series, the first can be found here and the second is here


Hello everyone. It’s John Chico, and this is the third volume of Those Who Help series, in which I write about social organisations I believe are helping greatly with social issues that are being faced in Coventry.

In this report, I’ll be talking about YMCA, the first organisation that I approached and provided me assistance when I found myself homeless. As a young, angry, antsy 23-year-old, after my quarrel with my mum got me on the streets. They are near and dear to my heart, because although this was the lowest time of my life to record, it was also the beginning of when I began to find myself, to discover who I was, and YMCA played a very important role in that process. I’ll get into the whole phase another time, because it’s pretty wild. But for now, let’s get to learn who the YMCA are.

Who are they?

The YMCA, Young Men’s Christian Association, is a worldwide organisation that aims to pull Christian principles into practice through programmes that build a healthy spirit, mind, and spirit. Established in London, 1844, the YMCA has grown into a global movement, serving more than 58 million people across 120 countries.

In Coventry, the YMCA provides vital services and support to young people and the broader community, aiming to improve their lives through various programmes and initiatives. What do they do? The YMCA in Coventry offers a wide range of services designed to support young people in their transition to independent living. These services include housing support, educational programmes, job training, and health and awareness activities. The organisation operates several housing projects, providing safe and affordable accommodation for young people facing homelessness. Additionally, they run youth clubs, community centres that offer recreational and educational activities, fostering a sense of community and belonging among participants.

Who do they help?

The YMCA primarily focuses on young people aged 16 to 25 who are at risk of homelessness or are in need of support to overcome personal challenges. However, their services extend to children, families, and other vulnerable groups within the community. By providing a safe environment, education opportunities and supportive services, the YMCA helps individuals build their skills and competence they need to lead successful independent lives.

What is their impact?

The impact of the YMCA in Coventry is significant as they provide critical support to hundreds of people each year, including myself once upon a time, which I am very grateful for.

Their housing programmes help prevent homelessness and give young people a stable foundation from which to build their futures. Educational and training programmes equip individuals with the skills needed to secure employment and achieve financial independence. Moreover, the YMCA’s community initiatives foster social inclusion, reduce isolation and promotes overall well-being.

How do they help?

The YMCA helps through a holistic approach that addresses the various needs of young people in the community. Their housing support includes emergency accommodations, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing. Educational programmes range from formal education and vocational training to life skills workshops, and personal development courses. Health and wellness initiatives include sports and recreation activities, mental health support, and substance abuse counselling. By offering a comprehensive suite of services, the YMCA ensures that individuals receive the support they need.


From my personal experience, I can tell you that YMCA helps young people tremendously, especially at a time when they cannot turn to anyone. I went through this. I had no home. Nowhere to sleep as a young homeless person with no one to talk to. YMCA provided me all these things, and I cannot imagine where I would be now if it did not be for them. This is John Chico again, everyone. Thank you for listening.

To read the next part in the Those Who Help series, click here

Written by John

Hello everyone, my name is John Chikondewa Mpaso and I am 29 years old. I am from Harare, Zimbabwe and I have lived in England for 19 years now. Ever since moving to England in 2004, I have lived in Coventry, where I attended Secondary School and Sixth Form at Lyng Hall School. Currently I am an Outreach Officer for an organisation called ININI which focuses on providing mental health services to Migrant and Local Communities. I am also Commitee Secretary for an organisation called CARAG (Coventry Asylum Refugee Action Group), which specialises in providing a range of services for Migrants and Refugees living in Coventry and the West Midlands. I become involved with ListenUp!, through a recommendation by the previous Commitee Chair of CARAG Lorraine Mponela, who shared with the group the opportunity to become a Volunteer Community Journalist for Groundswell, who would be able to capture the stories, thoughts and ideas of people who are experiencing homelessness within the areas they are a living in. Due to my own experience with homelessness and that of the people that I work with and know personally, I believed that I was in the position to capture real life stories, real time that can legitimately describe the various issues that cause homelessness to the people that live in Coventry. I believe that it is my duty to tell the real story of the homeless crisis that is being faced by the people of Coventry, both migrant and native, as I hear and see their stories play out everyday and I believe that it is on fact on one big story, that needs to be shared with the world, so that we all may truly understand the true causes of homelessness, including the many dangers and hardship that it brings forth to the people that are experiencing it. The people that I work with are my biggest inspiration, as they come in many forms like colleagues, friends and family, which has shown me that what makes humanity one, is our thoughts and feelings. It is our actions and what we do for humanity that will truly create a change, and it is up to us to take on that responsibility. It's time to Listen Up! and Make a change.

Read all of John's articles


Community Emergency Accommodation Service Delivery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *