YMCA DownsLink Group is the biggest youth charity in Sussex & Surrey

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Every year we support over 10,00 children, young people and their families - transforming young lives. We work to tackle the causes of youth homelessness and give young people in crisis the opportunity to create a brighter future.

Post pandemic recovery was a key part of 2022. Although our services continued throughout the pandemic, the lifting of Covid restrictions allowed us to resume face-to-face work with young people in our counselling and youth services.

2021/2022 in Statistics

10,273

young people accessed our services

787

homeless young people provided with a safe home every night

5,105

people were supported by our counselling services

71%

of the families seen by the Family Mediation Service stayed together, reducing youth homelessness

62%

of our residents were helped back into education, employment or training

89%

of our young people, living in supported accommodation, moved on successfully to independent living

For young people there were also additional family pressures caused by lockdown, so family breakdown became the number one cause of youth homelessness. Despite the challenges, we continued to deliver our vital housing & support projects, and adapted our counselling and advice services to ensure we could still help all young people in need, to belong, contribute and thrive in our local communities.

“Just walking through the doors of the YMCA and seeing the staff and the residents and having banter with them and talking to them. It’s just like having a home away from home and having a sense of family. I think you can’t really put a price on that…”

YMCA DownsLink Group Resident

How our work makes a difference

Nathan's Story

Nathan’s story

Nathan was struggling with his family relationships and mental health after coming out to his family at 15. Our Youth Advice Service found him specialist help.
YMCA DownsLink Group Dani's Story

Dani’s story

Dani's life had been chaotic and unstable. Her social worker referred her to YMCA DownsLink Group, and, with the help of her YMCA WiSE project worker, she began to make better decisions around relationships and her future.
Becky's Story

Becky’s story

Becky is 19 and left home after her Dad’s drinking became too much for her to cope with. Her mum died when she was 10 and her Dad turned to alcohol to deal with his grief. She moved in with her boyfriend at 17 as a way to get away from her Dad, but when that didn’t work out she found herself facing homelessness.
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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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