Well done to our amazing young person Josh!

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One of our incredible YMCA Right Here volunteers, Josh Mustafa, has been featured in this year’s YMCA’s Youth Matters Week (2-6 November), which recognises exceptional young people who have overcome significant obstacles to make a real difference to their lives and their community.

To comply with government guidance and for the safety of everyone, YMCA England & Wales made the tough decision to cancel 2020’s Youth Matters Awards – an annual celebration of the achievements of young people, staff and volunteers. However, they still wanted to acknowledge the incredible accomplishments of the young people we work with, hosting a Youth Matters Week instead.

Josh, 18 and from Sussex, is one of just 10 extraordinary young people selected to be featured in Youth Matters Week in recognition of his incredible journey and achievements.

Just one year ago, he was receiving counselling from YMCA Dialogue services to help improve his mental health. Since then, he has found his strength in working to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of other young people. Josh is one of our YMCA Right Here volunteers, on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of young people across Brighton and Hove and beyond.

Josh has been involved in countless YMCA Right Here projects including Young Healthwatch research exploring BAME young people’s experiences of Sexual Health Services, Shape My Future street consultations, YMCA Right Here social media campaigns on #BlackLivesMatter, news articles for YMCA DLG, local youth councils and meeting local and national MP, Caroline Lucas, to discuss some of the key issues facing young people at the moment.

As COVID-19 and lockdown hit and we all had to adapt to moving online, Josh brought his passion and positivity to every online YMCA Right Here volunteer meeting. Josh created video clips and Instagram stories to help other young people ‘stay healthy’ during the lockdown. He is also currently hosting his own podcast, interviewing other young people on relevant themes, such as the role of key workers in the Mental health sector and writing his own blog talking everything ‘Healthy Relationships’.

Josh’s creativity, kindness and dedication to helping others helps ensure the success of the YMCA Right Here program.

On being selected for Youth Matters Week, Josh said:

“It’s just been an amazing year and an absolute pleasure to work with the most amazing, empowering and inspiring young people who have all brought something unique to the group and I’m just glad to have been part of that. It’s truly something unique and amazing. I can’t even begin to thank everyone at [YMCA] Right Here enough because everything they have done for me and allowed me to do as an individual has been life changing and to have been nominated for this award means a lot to know how appreciated I am by the team.”

Gemma Doughty from YMCA DownsLink Group continues:

“In just eight months, Josh has made an outstanding contribution to the work of YMCA Right Here. Josh not only says yes to opportunities, but whatever he is taking part in he puts his heart and soul into it and inspires others to do the same!

“His creativity, kindness and dedication to helping others is phenomenal and we are so grateful for everything he has done for YMCA Right Here so far!”

A huge well done to Josh!

You can read the other young people’s stories here: www.ymca.org.uk/about/awards/youth-matters-awards-youth-matters-week 

You can find out more about YMCA Right Here here: www.ymcadlg.org/what-we-do/support-and-advice/right-here 

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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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