“I would cry myself to sleep at night. I’d cry so much that I just felt empty, exhausted and that I had nothing left to give.” Luke

£10 could buy Christmas dinner for a young person

£22 could pay for a bed for the night for a young person

£50 could give a young person one hour of specialist care from a counsellor

Will you help bring a young person like Luke in from the cold this Christmas?

You may not realise this but many young people are forgotten about over the Christmas period. Luke was one of them. He slept rough when he was 17, in the thick of winter.

In just a few months, Luke had seen his parents divorce and lost both his grandad and a close personal friend. His home-life quickly broke down, and he was kicked out of his mum’s house onto the dangerous streets. He had nothing but a bin liner containing a few clothes to protect against the bitter cold.

He would often sleep on a friend’s sofa but, when this wasn’t possible, was forced to shiver through the nights alone in a park on a local housing estate. But while the constant cold and fear of attack wouldn’t go away, it was the unbearable loneliness of life on the streets he struggled with most.

“I applied for emergency accommodation and was sent to a hostel 20 miles away from my friends, my college and my job. I urgently needed a roof over my head but the place I was given was awful. It was damp, dirty and lots of people were using drugs. Once there was a fight in the stairwell and people were waving around knives and baseball bats. It was terrifying how dangerous it was.”

Luckily Luke found out about his local YMCA and within days, they found him a safe and comfortable room there to stay in.

“From day one, the YMCA staff were honestly amazing. My key worker Mary helped me get my life back together and find some direction for the future. That’s the special thing that YMCA has shown me – that whether it’s YMCA supporters or staff like Mary, there are people out there who really do care.”

Amazing and caring people like you helped Luke to recently start renting his own place, while both working and studying full time. And if his schedule wasn’t busy enough, he’s also become a YMCA Youth Ambassador and is using his experiences to help other young people get back on track and reach their full potential.

A gift from you could not only keep someone warm and safe this Christmas, but be the first step towards a happier future.

3,000 young people are at risk of being on the streets this Christmas
12,020 young people aged 16-24 were accepted as homeless in 2018
Every day 33 young people are accepted as homeless