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YMCA Derbyshire to feed over 300 people this Christmas

December 14, 2016

14th December 2016

YMCA Derbyshire has over 300 people to feed this Christmas and give thanks to volunteers and donors for making this possible.

 The charity supports some of the most vulnerable people in the local community through the provision of accommodation, personal support and educational opportunities 365 days a year.

Gillian Sewell, Chief Executive of YMCA Derbyshire said “Whilst for many of us Christmas is a family time for some people it’s a lonely isolating experience. We hope that by providing a Christmas dinner, extra support and outreach to our residents and the elderly in the community, we are helping people get through this difficult time and easing their isolation.

YMCA Derbyshire will be supported by 20 volunteers this Christmas to ensure people are safe, fed and supported. YMCA is extremely grateful to their volunteers who are made up of friends of YMCA, staff and residents. One volunteer is an ex-resident. This time last year Kat was living at YMCA struggling with anxiety and worried about if she had any sort of future.

Kat had a meal with other residents last Christmas Day and said “it’s the only thing that got us through a difficult day. We had the chance to all get together have a great turkey dinner and then spent the afternoon playing board games”. “We are each other’s family in here and we are really grateful to donors and volunteers for making it possible”.

Kat spent 14 months living at the YMCA Campus. She arrived after a family breakdown and struggled with anxiety, lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Throughout her time with YMCA she received support with education and independent living skills. Accessed training, volunteering, mentoring and work experience opportunities. All with the aim that Kat would move on to live independently and gain employment.

Kat engaged in every opportunity presented to her at YMCA. She spent a year volunteering in the YMCA and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust well-being project, where she renovated gardens and worked on farms. She graduated from the Toyota UK Working Assets project which gives YMCA residents the chance to complete a 24 week work experience project getting them ‘job ready’.

Kat activity volunteered in the Campus café, and has been a member of the High Sheriff of Derbyshire’s catering team.

Kat also partitioned for a YMCA residents association and established this in late 2015. She’s held the position as Secretary for over a year securing over £5,000 funding for the association to give back to the local community.

A year on Kat’s in a very different place this Christmas. She has her own home and is working Full-Time at YMCA Derbyshire no less! She’s YMCA’s newest recruit working within housekeeping.

Kat understands better than anyone how important a Christmas dinner is to the YMCA residents and the elderly people we support in the local area. “I’m really looking forward to volunteering this Christmas. I know what a lonely time Christmas can be. I want to make sure no-one feels like they don’t have someone to talk to or something to do on Christmas day. I also can’t wait to give something back to a Charity that has given me so much hope for the future”. 2016 is going to be my best Christmas yet”.

YMCA is able to provide this vital support as a result of generous donations from individuals, businesses, schools and community groups.

YMCA give thanks to businesses including Bell & Co, PKF Cooper Parry, Boden Clothes, Derby University, Silk Mill, Zibrant and Sainsbury’s Wyvern who have also kindly agreed to a YMCA bag pack in store on 20th December.

The charity also thanks a large number of schools including Derby Grammar, Derby High, Heanor Gate, St Benedict’s, St John Fisher, Kingsmead and St John Houghton.

The YMCA Safe Front Door at Christmas campaign is really important as it raises awareness of both homelessness and loneliness. It’s not too late to join in! Its simple wear a jolly jumper and donate text YMCA16 £1 to 70070. Or email fundraising@ymcaderbyshire.org.uk to find out more.

Sean & Kat will be two of the volunteers this Christmas.