The Bridge, one of Guildford’s best-known buildings, opened in 1989 as a YMCA hostel for young people. Since 2016 the building has been providing student accommodation as YMCA DLG provision for young people facing homelessness was moved to a purpose built 34 room ‘Foyer’ in Wharf Rd. As part of our long-term strategy to refocus on our core mission of providing services for young people at risk, we have decided to sell the building to one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. Proceeds from the sale of the building will be reinvested into supporting our core mission of transforming the lives of vulnerable young people.
Speaking about the sale, Chas Walker CEO YMCA DownsLink Group said: “We’re delighted to have found a dedicated student accommodation provider to take on The Bridge as the student numbers continue to increase in the city. This decision means we will be able to focus solely on our core mission to provide support to marginalised young people in the city who need support with their mental health or housing.”
We understand that student accommodation is increasingly a specialist service and as such would be better suited to a dedicated student housing provider. Under its new ownership, The Bridge will continue to provide high quality accommodation for students in the city. Owned by M.F.Stawson Limited it will be operated day to day by Homes for Students (HfS), one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. With 39,000 rooms under management in 51 towns and cities across the UK, HfS have an excellent track record and take pride in the fact that many of their student residents choose to return to them year after year. The Bridge staff will be transferring to HfS.
Homes for Students Chief Operating Officer Kate Forester adds, “We are delighted to have been chosen to manage this iconic property in Guildford which will continue to offer high quality homes away from home for hundreds of students for many years to come. We know that studying away from home requires a safe and vibrant environment to help nurture education and create life-long memories. Our experienced teams, and the great on-site facilities help make this transition as easy as possible and provide the very best student experience.”
YMCA Downslink Group was created in 2014 with the merger of Guildford YMCA and Sussex Central YMCA. We now operate across Sussex and Surrey and provide over 750 young people with a safe place to live, and a pathway to independence, every night. The YMCA has a proud history in Guildford so we are glad to continue working in the town providing 24 hour supported accommodation to young people in need. Since 2017 the purpose-built supported accommodation at Wharf Rd has provided support to over 200 young people.