Chaplaincy - YMCA DownsLink Group
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YMCA DownsLink Group has a Christian foundation and inclusive vision. Our chaplaincy service helps ensure our YMCA supported accommodation is unique. Our multi-faith chaplains make a difference to the lives of young people in our supported accommodation by providing a space to be heard, to have fun and to eat together.

Chaplaincy sessions centre around hospitality. Most revolve around weekly shared meals within our housing projects which helps build confidence, friendships, and a sense of family.

Our chaplains offer non-judgemental support to residents and staff with their spiritual, emotional, and social wellbeing. They are here for people of all faiths, no faith, and for those exploring faith, belief and spirituality.

As well as weekly sessions our chaplains also offer one-to-one support in an informal way, by being available for walks or a chat over a cuppa, and they offer support at times of crisis and loss.

Fundamental to our chaplaincy service are our teams of highly committed volunteer chaplains who are passionate about supporting young people.


“Thank you soooo much for everything you do and always bringing a warmness and light to the house.”
- Young Resident

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“Come more often. You do great work. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t want to be here. Chaplaincy is the best part of the week… Amazing food and great company.”
- Young Resident

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“To cook a meal and for us all to sit down at the table together, it gives you that sense of family.”
- Chaplain

Where does our chaplaincy service operate?

We currently have chaplaincies running in Brighton & Hove, Crawley, Horsham, Worthing, Eastbourne and Guildford.

Contact us

To find out more about becoming a volunteer chaplain or supporting the chaplaincy service at YMCA DownsLink Group contact one of our chaplaincy team:

Brighton & Hove
Lucy McGrath, Lead Chaplain, [email protected] 07741 240452

Worthing, Crawley & Horsham
Rachel Bathurst, West Sussex Chaplain, [email protected] 07989 728314

Eastbourne and Guildford 
Elly McKay-Smith, East Sussex and Guildford Chaplain, [email protected] 07884 549308

What does Chaplaincy really mean to the young people we support?

When I first moved to the Foyer I didn’t speak to anyone for the first 2 weeks. I don’t know why, but Chaplaincy seemed like a safe place to introduce myself. I didn’t, and don’t see Chaplaincy as anything to do with the Foyer, not related, but more of an outside group, with people to talk to outside of the YMCA  and with people who are the same age as me in similar positions – the other residents who attend Chaplaincy. Chaplaincy was a space...

Read our stories to find out how we make a difference:

Ben stood outside Filfil cafe

Ben’s story

Ben had a difficult time growing up and was thrown out of home at just 15. Through the perseverance of a teacher, Ben was given a home in our 24-hour supported accommodation and life got better. 

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Nader stood in the garden in a blue sports tshirt holding up two certificates of achievement

Nader’s story

Nader left his home country when he was just 14, and after a difficult journey he arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child. Nader was given a home at YMCA DownsLink Group and was supported to learn English, attend college and take part in lots of activities.

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Alysha smiling in the Horsham Y Centre Garden

Alysha’s story

Alysha had a difficult childhood, full of arguments and tension, which led to her battling with her mental health. Thrown out at 17 with nowhere to go, she sofa surfed at friend’s houses until she was given a safe home with us.

Read More

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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