Transforming communities so that all young people can belong, contribute and thrive.
Mendip YMCA is a local charity founded in 1892 with a proud history of supporting young people and communities through great challenges. We have been helping to transform our communities through the big world events. The Great War, the 1918 pandemic, the Great Depression and the Second World War. But we have also been there at all the other times - through the day to day, very personal challenges of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, family breakdown and poor mental & physical health.
We're asking for your help as we continue that work in this current time of national crisis.
Why do we particularly need your help now?
In some ways it is business as usual for us.
Our fantastic team are currently supporting 132 people with accommodation and housing support in the area, and working with over 600 young people in our youth and community work. (Scroll to the bottom and you will find a couple of stories of young people that we support.)
Those numbers haven't dramatically changed because of the Coronavirus. But the challenges faced by the people we support have increased (including losing their jobs, struggling with anxiety and other mental health difficulties & social isolation), and the way we are working to protect the young people, staff and wider community are a challenge for the organisation (moving all of our youth work session online, providing protective equipment for staff, ensuring we have enough staff to cover those that are self-isolating or shielding).
On top of this our ability to raise funds has been hit hard by the essential social distancing measures put in place by the government - with our income generating social enterprises, which are our financial back bone, being forced to close temporarily.
We need the support of you, our community, now more than ever to ensure that we can continue our work with some of the most vulnerable people in the area during this crisis, and also crucially, beyond the Coronavirus crisis.
We would value any donations you can make - big or small. They all make a difference to the young people we work with. We recognise for some at the moment jobs and finances are very uncertain - and so making a donation of any size is difficult or even impossible. If that is you - please stay in touch, pray for us and our young people, send us your positive thoughts and share our story with your family and friends.
However we also know that some of us are finding themselves with a little extra money - as we spend less on coffees, pints, meals out, fuel and even holidays. If you find yourself in that situation, we would be very grateful if you would consider directing some of that extra to us.
Without your support, we cannot support those who need it the most within our community.
Thank you and stay safe
Here are stories of some of the young people that we support:
(Please note, some names and images have been changed - but the stories are real)
Naomi arrived at one of our housing project from a mental health ward. She arrived shaking and scared of everyone and struggled with depression and anxiety. She had been involved in abusive relationships, her motivation had hit rock bottom, and she had got herself into financial difficulties.
Our team have settled her in, cared for her and developed a trusting relationship with her to enable Naomi to take the journey of slow and steady change. They are supporting her to be involved with other services that can help her including the community mental health team. She is working towards being ready for therapy to address the trauma she faced as a child.
She is getting on top of her money problems with the help of another local organisation, CAP (Christians Against Poverty), and our team are helping her to understand what makes a healthy relationship.
She still struggles with confidence and our team have helped to find her opportunities to stretch herself, and try new things.
Ruth was recently having difficulties at home which resulted in her being kicked out. In addition to this she was struggling with relationship issues after her boyfriend and he broke up with her. This young person came to one of our youth clubs looking for help. Our team listened to her, gave her impartial advice and signposted her to other organisations that may be able to help her, as well as linking in with her school to increase her support network there. The situation at home was able to be quickly resolved and she is back there now.
We have continued to offer support and advice as well as help her find ways to communicate effectively with her family to prevent further family breakdowns. Our youth workers have also supported her with relationship and self-esteem issues by trying to encourage her participation in activities to increase her self-worth and to increase her confidence.