Thank you for supporting young people this Christmas! - YMCA DownsLink Group

Thank you for supporting young people this Christmas!

Collage of photos: a group of residents eating christmas dinner; a young resident smiling wearing his new earphones, an elf outside santa's grotto

Christmas can be a difficult time especially for the young people we work with. Many will not have happy memories of Christmases past and others may miss the family connections they once had.  For anyone recently homeless it can be especially tough.  But, with the help and generosity of our partners, supporters and staff, we were able to create a special Christmas for all of our residents. From personalised gifts and festive bakes to Santa visits and home-cooked Christmas dinner, it was magical.

Lily, a project worker in Brighton, sums up how your support made a difference and the importance of giving at Christmas in particular:

It was clear that having their wishes met on a day, which has carried very difficult memories and experiences in the past, was very powerful. Also being able to extend the festivities beyond one day by having nice Christmas treats like the biscuits and chocolates was fantastic. We facilitated communal meals every day between Christmas and New Year and having resources such as the crackers, and extra decorations made this feel really special. It all goes a long way towards helping people rebuild positive associations of the festive period so that they may feel able to continue this in future years. Thanks again so much on behalf of the residents and staff for your generosity and thoughtfulness.

The Big Give Campaign

In addition to our Love in a Box activity, we ran a match funding appeal with the Big Give just before Christmas. This was a chance for us to share the long-term impact youth homelessness can have on a young person and why it is vital to support them at this critical stage of life.  We want to thank everyone who donated during the Big Give or shared our posts on social media and helped us to raise awareness of the issues facing too many young people in our community.

We are delighted to announce that we raised £20,260 (without Gift Aid) during the week of the Big Give! This money will go towards supporting the vulnerable young people that will walk through our doors this winter. Thanks to you we will provide them with a safe place to stay, alongside emotional support, help back into education or work and life skills they’ll need to get back on track and on the path to independence.

These are young people like Mapalo, who was the young resident who featured in our Big Give campaign. Mapalo lived with us last year and with our support has now just started university in London to become a midwife.  If you missed her story, we’d urge you to give it a watch below as she is inspirational.

What’s next?

If you didn’t have chance to get involved with our previous campaigns, or want to support us again, we’d love you to join our next exciting fundraising event in March. Join together with your local community for Sleep Easy 2023. Find out more 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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