Overcoming challenges: A young person shares their story - YMCA DownsLink Group

Overcoming challenges: A young person shares their story


A resident in YMCA DownsLink Group supported accommodation, Bill, shares his story of overcoming challenges and looking to the future.

What brought you to live in YMCA accommodation?

My relationship with my father broke down after I came out of an abusive relationship. I became involved in drugs, alcohol, anti-social behaviour and was stealing money from home. At the time I was looking for “fixes” to help me as I felt broken and snapped, both physically and mentally. This all made matters worse though.

How has living at the YMCA impacted your life?

Living at YMCA DownsLink Group gave me stability, but there have been challenges at times too. Adapting to living somewhere new and meeting so many different kinds of people takes getting used to. The staff have had a big impact on me and I’ve had some really good support from them. They have been patient and accepting of me and my “luggage” (which is a lot less now 😊).

I’ve also found the More Than a Room sessions helpful. Although I wish I’d finished the CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) training when I had the chance.

What is your favourite thing about living at the YMCA?

Feeling safe and protected. The general feeling amongst residents is the same too. I have a mixed set of friends from here, who understand me and who I understand, and the support from staff has been amazing.

What are your hopes for the future?

With help from YMCA staff I’m about to move into a new home with a local housing association and I’m a new dad! My plans are to get the skills needed to work in construction or motor mechanics.

I’d like to be able to come back to YMCA DownsLink Group in a few years and tell my story to the residents. Hopefully I can encourage them to make the most of living here.


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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