15 October 2018

Our annual celebration event is a chance for young learners, residents, staff and supporters to come together to celebrate the achievements of our young people and supporters from the past twelve months. This year’s event took place on Friday 5 October and was led by Chair Mary Gordon.

Congratulations to all of our winners below, and our YMCA Key College learners who accepted certificates for their achievements in English, Maths and other subjects.

Keith Lewis Memorial Award was given to Jake Senkiw. Jake arrived at YMCA Derbyshire as a shy person with no qualifications. During their time with us, they have achieved qualifications in Hospitality, Retail, Maths and English. Their timekeeping and attendance are excellent and their confidence has improved greatly. This individual has been proactive in seeking work before they left Key College and was shortly offered a retail job; they are enjoying the work and their improved financial situation.

Alan Hart Memorial Award was given to Melanie Reilly. Mel came to YMCA Derbyshire following a difficult period in their life. In April 2018, they began to attend our Art Therapy sessions which helped them regain their self-confidence and self-esteem. They then began to get involved in a wide variety of activities such as Supper Club, our Wilmorton Allotments and the All Ages Together project. In June 2018, they successfully applied to be on the 2018 Toyota Project and it was their involvement in this project which highlighted their ability to support and advocate on behalf of others, through supporting their younger team members in various work tasks as well as being concerned for their welfare. They often check up on younger residents as they understand the problems that our younger residents have experienced and have a very positive mothering concern for them. They lead by example and have recently taken on an active volunteer role within our Hospitality Team proving to be a highly effective team member; they encourage others to take up similar opportunities.

Sue Howard Memorial Award was given to Joao Mabela. Joao came to YMCA Derbyshire in January 2018 having just suffered a stroke which affected movement in his left arm and leg. Throughout their time at the YMCA they have been committed to improve their mobility and overall wellbeing; they regularly attend the DCCT weekly gym and swimming sessions, and has learnt to swim one handed. Throughout this period of rehabilitation they regularly attended the weekly allotment sessions, the ‘All Ages Together’ project and play an active role in the weekly campus based activities. Joao is a lovely engaging person who is universally popular with YMCA residents and staff, their positive impression also extends outside the YMCA. He is a positive role model for everyone at the YMCA; and his steely determination to recover from his stroke is an example to us all, on how we overcome adversity.

Recognition Award was given to threeguru, who have become a significant advocate for the great work that we do here at YMCA Derbyshire. They entered a team for Sleep Easy for the first time this year, and their fundraising efforts were reflective of their true ingenuity as one of Derby’s leading creative agencies. They regularly utilised their social media channels throughout this time to promote their participation and to accrue more funds. They raised in excess of £1300 for Sleep Easy, which was one of the highest amounts overall. Since Sleep Easy, the team have kept in regular contact, and it is hoped that this relationship will go from strength to strength. This team go over and above to share the work that YMCA Derbyshire do and we are privileged to work with such creative and enthusiastic people.

Chief Executive Award was awarded to Derby County Community Trust (DCCT). Our partnership with DCCT began two and a half years ago with a discussion about how the two organisations could work together to benefit each other’s client group. During this time we have jointly developed a sports, fitness, health and wellbeing programme that has become firmly established as part of our weekly curriculum offer to our residents. Our two organisations share a common ethos and values base which has resulted in a terrific working relationship and effective sharing of resources and expertise. We are now able to provide residents with a regular weekly programme of free sport and fitness activities. In addition, this activity has opened up other vocational and learning pathways to our residents such as, sports coaching and first aid qualifications. Equality is a strong feature of this organisation’s work, no better exemplified than in their support of Joao who suffered a stroke this year. They have provided him with a course of massage, physiotherapy and regular access to the gym and swim sessions. We have all seen a significant improvement in Joao’s health and wellbeing. Away from their work with the YMCA, this organisation has done some amazing work with adults referred to them from drug and alcohol services. They have transformed very troubled lives, blighted by addiction through the medium of sport.

Chair Award was awarded to Katrina Pargma. Kat has recently experienced a successful move on into their own privately rented accommodation after being with the YMCA for more than 3 years. After coming to YMCA Derbyshire following a reclusive period, Kat started to engage with the Health and Wellbeing team and volunteered with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust project as well as attending regular Derby County Community Trust fitness activities. In 2015, they completed the 34-week Working Assets Programme with Toyota, UK. Here she completed work experience with Toyota’s catering contractors, where she showed great commitment to the project and a strong work ethic. During her time with YMCA Derbyshire, this individual was employed within our Hospitality and Housekeeping teams, where she was seen as a positive role model to other residents and learners. She has since secured a full time role with East Midlands Trains as an on-board host, where she was able to save the deposit to secure her own private accommodation. Kat is secretary for YMCA Derbyshire’s residents committee, SOLID, and still participates as the only original group member, and a valued representative of young people. They were also successful in securing a £3,000 grant to enable SOLID to become self sufficient. The key steps to this individuals move on were without doubt the partnership between herself and the Health and Wellbeing team who provided positive guidance throughout, as well as the individual gaining the confidence to apply for professional employment out of the YMCA.

Well done to everyone who was nominated for the awards. Thanks also to Leslie and Fiona at Derbyshire Tartan who run a weekly sewing club with residents, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for presenting certificates to participants of our programme, and Reverend Cath Hollywell for all of her wonderful work with our people.