What does the YMCA do?
The YMCA helps young people build a future. YMCAs operate in over 250 communities in England. We empower young people through four key areas of work:
Offering a place to stay
The YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of safe, secure and affordable supported accommodation in England for single men and women aged 16 to 35. Every night, over 9,000 young people stay at a YMCA.
Giving young people a fresh start
The YMCA gives young people a range of support to help them get their lives back on track. This includes vocational training and informal education, giving them the chance to learn the necessary skills to enter the workplace. Many YMCAs provide services for school age children, including breakfast clubs and after-school clubs.
The YMCA offers a variety of services that help to promote positive family relationships. We work holistically with families and young people by offering healthy activities for families, holiday clubs, family mediation and teenage parenting programmes.
Helping communities to get active
The YMCA is the largest voluntary provider of physical activity programmes and services that promote healthy communities. Over half a million people access exercise through the YMCA each year, and approximately 26,000 children take part in YMCA junior sports and fitness activities every week. The YMCA is also the leading provider of industry training in physical activity, with over 67,000 people receiving YMCA fitness industry qualifications.
What is YMCA England's role?
YMCA England supports and represents YMCAs in England. We strengthen and nurture local YMCAs in their work to support young people and transform communities. Find out more about YMCA England.
Can anyone be involved in the YMCA?
The YMCA is a worldwide movement of 45 million people which runs a wide range of projects tailored to the needs of young people in the communities where they operate.
Today, the YMCA is open to young men and women, regardless of faith, culture or background.
In 1844 the YMCA was established to support young men who had moved into the towns and cities of England for work during the Industrial Revolution. Many lived in terrible conditions. By the 1960s, the services offered by the YMCA were open to both men and women.
How can I get help with accommodation or support?
If you are a young person who needs accommodation or support, please contact your nearest YMCA.
Where does the YMCA work?
The YMCA works in 119 countries around the world. To find out more, visit the World Alliance of YMCA’s website.
In England, you will find YMCAs in towns and cities up and down the country and we serve young people in 250 communities. We also have a network of nearly 150 YMCA shops nationwide.
Find your nearest YMCA or YMCA shop.
How can I make a donation to the work of the YMCA?
Does the YMCA work with other organisations?
The YMCA works with a range of partners at national, regional and local levels, from Central Government Departments to local schools and community groups.
How do I volunteer for the YMCA?
The YMCA would not be able to function without the valuable help of our volunteers. There are several ways in which you can volunteer for the YMCA, from getting involved in sports activities at your local YMCA, becoming a trustee or volunteering in a shop.
Volunteering has a range of benefits both for the YMCA and the individual. It is a great way for you to contribute to your local community, learn new skills and meet new people. Through volunteering, we are able to create opportunities for young people to develop and learn new skills.
Contact your local YMCA to find out about volunteering opportunities.
Volunteering in YMCA shops
There are YMCA shops all over the country and if you have a few hours a week to spare, we would love to hear from you. Read more about volunteering in YMCA shops.
Volunteers for Europe
If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities or exchanges in YMCAs across Europe, see YMCA Europe's Volunteers for Europe website.
How do I find a YMCA shop?
We have more than 150 shops in England. You can find a list of them in our directory or by using the search function.
How do I donate to a YMCA shop?
Our shops would be grateful to receive any of your unwanted items such as: good quality clothing, shoes, hats, belts, accessories, books, CDs, DVDs, handbags, household linen and bric-a-brac. Simply bag up your items and take them to your nearest shop.
You can also donate unwanted furniture and electrical goods which we collect for FREE. Contact your nearest YMCA shop for more information.