YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, set up by Sir George Williams in England in 1844. Across England and Wales, we run as a federation with 116 local YMCAs working independently to support young people to belong, contribute and thrive in their communities.
While YMCAs work and respond locally, YMCA England & Wales acts as the national council, supporting each local charity within our federation and acting as a national voice with Government and decision makers.
We support local YMCAs by promoting high standards of working, sharing best practice, fundraising on their behalf, partnering with them to pilot new projects and providing training opportunities for staff and volunteers.
We give local YMCAs a national voice by speaking with government, key policy makers and national media, and we represent them by advocating for the needs of the most vulnerable young people in England and Wales.
Together, we focuses on young people, helping them to play an active and fulfilling role within their communities. We call this our youth-minded community approach. We also provide a wide range of community-based activities and services to help meet local needs wherever we are based.
Each YMCA in England and Wales is an individual, self-governing charity that affiliates to the National Council. Through this affiliation, YMCAs become part of the World Alliance of YMCAs. As part of a worldwide movement, we help more than 58 million people in 119 different countries. You can read more about YMCA globally on our Where we are section.