Mikey first joined our YMCA when he was 16 because of issues at home.

“Being away from my family was weird, standing on my own two feet was daunting, having to sort out rent and benefits was difficult to start with but staff helped, they sat me down and explained it all to me.

When I first came here I was trying to find myself and trying to fit in, which is when the problems started. I was rebelling against staff as I thought people would think I was cool. Then I got asked to leave.

I’ve sofa surfed, been in B&Bs and pretty much every housing association in Derby but I’ve grown up with being around YMCA. I’m comfortable here and I can be myself here. I’m at the point where I can acknowledge when I’ve done something wrong and can change things so that I don’t do it again.

I can come in and say that I am having a bad day but staff will respect that and talk to me. You give what you want to take out. The majority of my long-term friendships are with people that I have met at the YMCA”.

Mikey’s achieved so much in the past year especially. He joined the Toyota Working Assets programme where he got help with his Maths and English and completed 120 hours work experience within security. He prepared and delivered an excellent speech talking about the positive impact of the programme at The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) graduation event in London.

“I look at where I am now to where I was this time last year. I was doing nothing, smoking drugs, just passing the day. I now want to find a job, I know people here would be pleased for me if I got a job. When I do get one, I will still find time to come to the YMCA. It’s like me and the YMCA are an elastic band – I’ll go so far and then come back. It feels like home”. 

“The YMCA has made me the person I am today”

We are so proud of Mikey and can’t wait to see what’s next for him.