Home - YMCA DownsLink Group

Transforming Young Lives

We believe every young person has the right to discover their potential. Sadly, many don't have that opportunity.


Transforming Young Lives

We believe every young person has the right to discover their potential. Sadly, many don't have that opportunity.

Every night...

we give a safe home to more than 650 young people facing homelessness in Sussex and Surrey

Each Year...

we prevent crisis by providing support and advice to 9,000 young people across Sussex and Surrey

We are...

the largest provider of mental health services and counselling for children, young people & families in Sussex

How you can help

myth busting: young man wearing black coat and winter hat sat on a wooden bench

For just 40p per day you could change a life, forever

Josh smiling and holding up his medal after completing the DownsLink Challenge

Get involved, feel good and have fun! Take on a challenge today

Room sponsorship - Becky sat on bed

Stay informed, feel connected, and help us create change

Join our community

Who your donations support

safe home

Becky's Story

"I feel like I've got a future now"

Becky was just 10 when her Mum died. Her Dad started to drink heavily and neglected her. At 17, she decided she couldn't stay there anymore and found herself homeless. Alone and scared, she had nowhere left to turn. Until she found us.

YMCA DownsLink Group gave Becky a safe place to call home, in 24-hour supported accommodation. With the help of her project support worker, she is starting to rebuild her life, and is looking forward to the future. 


Mollie wearing a white shirt smiling taking a selfie

Mollie's Story

“I am proud to say now, post-counselling, that I feel empowered, prepared and able to live my life to the absolute fullest”

Mollie was struggling with anxious thoughts that were taking over her life and stopping her from being independent. She felt stuck and constantly feared she was in danger.

When Mollie started seeing a YMCA Dialogue counsellor, everything started to change. Mollie was supported to overcome her anxiety and gain control back over her life. She’s regained her confidence and is looking forward to travelling and going to university.


Poppy's story

Poppy's Story

“I am in a happier and safer space now than ever”

Poppy didn’t realise she was being subjected to sexual exploitation. She was referred to our YMCA WiSE service and was supported to understand the reality of her situation.

Now Poppy is back in college and hoping to work in a hostel or care home looking after vulnerable young people. She wants to give back and help other people get through their bad days.


Dylan with curley brown hair and braces smiling at the camera, sat in a grass field

Dylan's Story

“If I hadn’t had a room at the YMCA then I don’t know where I would be today, probably laying dead in a gutter.”

Dylan ran away from home when he was just 14, after being stuck at the centre of his parents’ violent divorce. He started selling and taking drugs to help him cope but ended up in hospital after suffering from a nervous breakdown.

It all turned around when Dylan moved into our supported accommodation and was given the support and advice he needed to overcome his addiction, start working and become an independent young person.


Nathan's Story

Nathan's Story

“Being told my feelings are valid is so relieving and encouraging”

Nathan had been struggling with his family relationships and mental health for several years, especially after coming out to his family at the age of 15, as they didn’t accept his sexuality.

Nathan found the confidence to reach out to our Youth Advice service and had support sessions focusing on self-care, setting boundaries and exploring his anxieties. Following the sessions, Nathan felt more confident in maintaining a positive state of mind and felt more comfortable communicating with his parents.

Support and Advice

Why we need your help

1 in 55

young people are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

69% cuts

to local youth services, leaving young people with lack of support & fewer prevention services

1 in 6

children & young people are thought to have a probable mental health condition

*stats refer to data collected from across the UK

YMCA DownsLink Group is a charity that works to prevent youth homelessness across Sussex and Surrey. Through our youth advice centre, community and school counselling services, family mediation and other services, we provide additional support to 9,000 children, young people and families each year. Our aim is to prevent young people from reaching crisis and to support them at this crucial stage in their lives so that can fulfil their potential.

Where we work

We've been working in Sussex and Surrey for the last 175 years.

Other ways to get involved


YMCA DownsLink Group is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.


By volunteering for YMCA DownsLink Group will you gain experience, learn new skills and meet some great people.


By partnering with us, your business will be driving positive and lasting change for young people in your community.

Latest news and blogs

YMCA Youth Advice Centre’s sustainable food market: Everything you need to know

In 2022, YMCA YAC Brighton have opened a Youth-Led sustainable social grocery store for anyone aged 16-25, living in the Brighton and Hove area. […]

Read More → about YMCA Youth Advice Centre’s sustainable food market: Everything you need to know

Working with Children and Young People: A checklist for innovators

Our e-wellbeing team have been working hard to provide best practice guidelines for innovators working with children and young people.

Read More → about Working with Children and Young People: A checklist for innovators

YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content