Young people, staff and volunteers were honoured for their outstanding efforts and achievements in the face of adversity at YMCA’s Youth Matters Awards 2022.

Behind all of the stories guests heard on the night are people like you, quietly and consistently giving their support to help young people find the courage and determination to turn their lives around.
Awards host Reverend Kate Botley said, “I was totally astounded by some of the stories I was hearing. Just lives completely changed. It’s so joyful and so hopeful. These young people have so much to teach us about how to love one another and how to serve one another and make the world a better place. If that sounds saccharine, it’s actually true.”

Young Achiever of the Year: Jamie

Like many young people who need support and come to live at YMCA for a while, Jamie was told to leave his home due to a family dispute. After months sleeping in sheds, on friends’ sofas and taking refuge in his sister’s foster home, he found his local YMCA and was relieved to have somewhere safe and secure to live.
School had always been a difficult place for Jamie. With the help of YMCA staff, however, he got into college to study agriculture. His grandfather has a farm and it is a subject Jamie is passionate about. Throughout his course, Jamie has been achieving distinctions and merits which he had never imagined he could do.
Back at his YMCA, he has been putting himself forward for every activity. He has even become a buddy for several young people under 16 who arrived in England unaccompanied and who the YMCA is looking after. Jamie is helping them learn English and involving them in football games.
His confidence has grown so much that Jamie even found the courage to stand up at a recent supporters’ dinner and tell his story to a room of 30 people. No small feat!
Jamie has now found himself a job with a local demolition firm. He is saving hard to be able to move on to independent living and in a few years wants to go to university to study agriculture.
When Jamie walked up to receive his award for Young Achiever of the Year, he was so proud. So were we, of Jamie and of all the people like you whose assistance helped him get here.