Kawan arrived at YMCA Derbyshire accommodation when he was just 17. The only items he owned were the clothes on his back.

“These were the first moments for me in the UK. At the beginning it was very tough for me to get on and adapt to the new way of life. Back home I was the youngest child in my family. I got used to having so much attention, being loved and surrounded by my family members.”

Because Kawan didn’t know how to speak English, he felt very isolated. However, with plenty of determination, patience and hard work, Kawan started to pick up the language and began to socialise with those around him. He joined in with residential opportunities and volunteering sessions, which allowed him to integrate into the community.

“The Health & Wellbeing Team put so much effort in to keep this programme easy for those who are doing it and they always encourage us to do and be better – I have so much respect for both.”

Kawan has now moved into his own flat and secured a job in retail. We are so proud of how far he has come in the last couple of years. From not knowing anyone to really growing his confidence and setting up a life for himself.

“I can’t imagine my life without the YMCA. The support I was given meant I was always pushed to the next level and helped me achieve things. Without YMCA Derbyshire I wouldn’t be where I am now.“

Kawan’s story shows the positive impact our Y-Steps project which specialises in enabling young people to gain employment and to make the transition from supported accommodation into a home of their own is having on the young people we support.