Beach Hotel – YMCA Somerset Coast

YMCA Somerset Coast has taken a ground breaking approach to delivering housing and how we as a YMCA can embed ourselves in the community, while at the same time provide opportunities for training and employment.

The Beach is a unique social enterprise that works on three levels.

The business face of the building offers a high-level hotel experience, which has established itself as a top quality enterprise and an award winning hotel and restaurant.

Implicit in this activity is our second tier: we take youngsters in housing crisis, accommodate them and provide a top quality training programme that has seen our youngsters go from the streets to Michelin starred kitchens. We are able to offer apprenticeships in Hospitality, Catering and Property Management.

Added to this is our third tier: Consisting of 23 supported housing units, comprising rooms, bedsits and self-contained flats, young people are helped to learn how to live independently and through the Tenant Accreditation Scheme, helped to move on when they are ready.

Over the past four years we have taken a failing seaside hotel, given it a new life and supported over 200 young people in housing, more than 30 in apprenticeship offers, and provided a fantastic hotel experience for more than 45,000 guests. One of our first residents, whose destiny was set to be a life in and out of court and prison, became an apprentice chef with us and has gone on to be a success at Michelin Star level. He is now looking to pass on the transformative experience to others who have been misunderstood and misplaced.

Brighton and Hove Supported Housing – YMCA DownsLink Group

The Brighton and Hove supported housing team provide a home for 55 of our most vulnerable young people: young people who present with trauma, and/or challenging behaviour.

One hundred per cent of young people receiving high support, and 70% receiving medium support, would be considered either challenging, vulnerable and/or socially marginalised, because of mental health issues, adverse childhood experiences, alcohol or drug misuse, offending history and/or behaviours, harm to self or others and non-engagement.

The services have led the way in our organisation embedding trauma informed approaches in supported housing, resulting over four years in a 65% reduction in attendance at A&E, and a 75% reduction in incidents. Last year, through the use of restorative practice, the team prevented 75% of young people threatened with eviction from being evicted.

Last year 88% of young people successfully moved on, of whom, 86% are still maintaining their tenancy and 80% are in employment, education or training.

One volunteer chaplain, said: “What I feel YMCA is doing is bringing goodness and love into difficult places. Since beginning to work for this organisation, I have been overwhelmed by the compassion, love and care shown by the staff for the young people they look after – young people who have already been through far too much. I have seen the YMCA bring hope by meeting young people where they are and fighting for them to the very best of their ability.”

Positive Behaviour Project – YMCA Trinity Group

The Positive Behaviour Project is a fun, interactive, educational and recreational programme working with young people aged 16 to 21.

We focus on hate crime awareness, gangs, and the effects alcohol abuse has on behaviour, in order to facilitate change in attitudes, unconscious bias and behaviours. We also help to build positive relationships with our neighbours and encourage community cohesion, which helps reduce and prevent crime within the local area.

The success of the project was the result of the continual feedback and consultation with the young people attending the project. We conducted a survey with the young people, with 100% saying they had a better understanding of antisocial behaviour and 65% stating they had either found a new thing they liked to do, or learnt something new about themselves. The support workers have also identified that young people who attended the project have also been engaging more with them.

Complaints related to antisocial behaviour have dropped by 69% compared to the previous year; we have had positive feedback from our neighbours, who said they noticed the difference and lack of antisocial behaviour taking place.

Through our engagement with the young people on the programme, we were able to refer 16 young people to Princes Trust courses, and 10 young people to the ‘Step up’ training programme. These sessions has encouraged team building and helped improve confidence and self-esteem within the young people.

Supported flats – YMCA Cornwall

This innovative and ambitious project was motivated by the rising national trend of homelessness among under-18 year olds and the need to respond to our waiting list.

We decided, in consultation with the community, to convert an obsolete gymnasium on our site into 20 new self-contained flats.

Most young people arrive here vulnerable, homeless and at risk, having experienced the trauma and chaos of family breakdown and disadvantage.

Last year 66 vulnerable young people lived here before moving into move-on flats, with ongoing support from our Housing team. Of these 80% maintained their tenancy and achieved independence.

The first six flats were completed in April 2017 and the six young people who moved in were homeless, not in education, training or employment. As a result of having a safe space and support in a positive community we were able to give them a whole range of opportunities to start to rebuild their lives.

Youth Matters Awards categories