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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

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate
YMCA shoot Brighton September 2020 - 
Models used for shoot

For more info contact: Ruth Cobb
Head of Marketing & Communications

T 01273 222583
M 07957 254 582

“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

YMCA Birmingham 8th Sept 2021 - Various images

“The best thing about volunteering is the sense of community and eating at the table with the young people, sharing stories…knowing it's helping a few young people have a sense of belonging.”
- Volunteer 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
Samantha Burton, West Sussex Chaplain, [email protected] 07557 855779

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:

Daniel’s story

What does Chaplaincy really mean to the young people we support? One resident, who has recently ‘moved on’ to a transitional property from a Foyer, explained the difference Chaplaincy made to him.

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Rukshi’s story

Rukshi was left homeless at 20 and lost custody of her daughter during a couple of difficult years. She’s now living in our 24 hour supported accommodation and has begun to rebuild her life and her relationship with her daughter.

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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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