Josh's story - YMCA DownsLink Group

Josh’s story

Josh sat on a sofa smiling, wearing a red jumper and blue jeans

A year ago, Josh was facing homelessness. He was having trouble at home and didn’t get on with his parents. After moving into our supported accommodation, he took every opportunity he could to help others in a similar situation.


He moved into Grove House, one of our 24-hour supported accommodations. When he arrived, he had very little confidence. He suddenly found himself in a position where he was living independently, which was an obvious challenge for him.

Josh received a lot of support from YMCA staff, particularly from his project worker. He embraced their support in enabling him to learn to live in a different environment, and they worked together through practical tasks such as budgeting skills, tenancy sustainment, cooking, and sourcing employment.

His project worker helped him navigate difficult times. He slowly gained more confidence and successfully got a job working locally. As well as this, he played an integral role within Grove House, showing his calm and compassionate manner towards other residents and staff.

Josh really wanted to engage with support and was keen to take part in various activities to support YMCA DownsLink Group and raise awareness for others who might be in the same situation that he was. He took part in our summer fundraiser, the DownsLink Challenge, a 17.5 mile walk from Horsham to Shoreham-by-Sea, and is the face of our 2023 DownsLink Challenge too. He was a little nervous at the start of the event but was soon chatting and laughing with the other participants and even ended up reaching the finish line first!

Josh rightly felt a huge sense of achievement and his confidence soared. This was all topped off when he appeared in the local newspaper a few weeks later – one of his lifelong dreams!

Josh featured in the newspaper, a photo of him smiling holding his medal up alongside the title 'Sponsored walk to raise cash to fight youth homelessness'

He has since moved into transitional housing where he is able to be more independent, and has a full time job.

Josh also successfully applied to be a YMCA England & Wales Youth Ambassador, an empowering opportunity to help shape the support that YMCA offers and be a voice for young people on the issues that affect them. Josh attended his first induction day in London and travelled there independently on the train. He said that he’s really excited about what this opportunity will offer him and believes that it will build a solid foundation for his future .

“I’m really thankful for what they’ve done and how they’ve helped me progress as a person.

I can’t thank you enough for what the YMCA have done.

For anyone my age facing something similar, the YMCA is definitely the place to go. I recommend it 100%”

We are so proud of how far Josh has come, and are excited to see what else he’ll go on to achieve!


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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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