Love in a Box Christmas Appeal 2023 - YMCA DownsLink Group

Make a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Give today, this Christmas!

Love in a Box Logo 2023 White Red Heart-01

Everyone deserves to feel loved at Christmas

The young people we help have had a difficult start in life. Many will face homelessness alone, scared about what their future holds. You can help change this. Make a gift this Christmas that lasts a lifetime. Donate to our Christmas Appeal 2023 to help a young person without a family to rebuild their life.

LIAb Becky Smiling (1)

How we help young people

Giving children and young people a fair chance to be who they want to be.

We believe no young person should be homeless. We’re working towards this by providing housing support, counselling, advice, and family mediation services to young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We couldn’t do it without you.


young people a night come to us for a safe place to call home.


move on positively in life when they are ready to.


of the young people we help have experienced family breakdown.


of the families we help through mediation stay together.


more young people supported by our counselling services


children, young people and families a year benefit from our counselling services.

Buy a gift that makes a difference

Helping children and young people believe their past does not dictate their future.

The young people who come to us have experienced significant challenges and trauma. Our work increases their confidence, helps them regain trust in adults, and provides a supportive community in which to build their resilience for life when they leave our services. Your support helps them see that they can have dreams and achieve them.

Why your support is needed now

We’re doing all we can to break the cycle of homelessness for young people in your community. We positively impact the lives of over 10,000 children, young people and families each year. But we’re not there yet.  The need for our support and yours has never been greater.


cuts in funding to youth services in the last 10 years.


increase in demand for our housing support since the pandemic.


of the young people we help have come from the care system.

1 in 20

children experience the death of a parent before the age of 16.


of all homeless people in the UK are aged between 16 and 24.


of 16 to 24 year olds have been temporarily homeless at some point.

Who your support helps

Be the reason more young people like Becky smile this Christmas

We all want to feel loved at Christmas. You can be that someone for a young person in crisis and help them access the additional support they need to thrive.

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

Read more young people's stories

Emi’s story

Emi is one of our e-wellbeing Youth Researchers. After experiencing her own mental health struggles at a young age, Emi was determined to help other young people like herself.

Nader’s story

Nader left his home country when he was just 14 and after a difficult journey he arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child. Nader was given a home at YMCA DownsLink Group and was supported to learn English, attend college and take part in lots of activities.

Adi’s story

Adi is an unaccompanied asylum–seeking young person who threw himself into every opportunity when he moved into our supported accommodation despite facing huge adversity.

Thank you for supporting a young person without a family this Christmas.


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.

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