Lotto £300k to YMCA

Published on 13 September 2018

Lotto £300k to YMCA

Picture caption: Paul Hunt left with colleague Paul Kellett of the YMCA 

A charity with premises in Bedford has been awarded nearly £300,000 towards activities which combat the causes of homelessness in local young people.

The YMCA already helps 100s of people of all ages off the county streets each year and into safe accommodation. But its Fun 4 Young People (F4YP) is designed to stop people ending up on the streets in the first place. 

So impressed has the Big Lottery organisation been with the charities work in Bedfordshire that is has awarded the project £299,117 over three years.

 “Heading towards living on the streets often begins in unhappy homes. By mitigating several of the risk factors associated with family breakdown and increasing protective factors in the lives of children and young people, we are reducing the potential for them to become displaced from their families and eventually homeless, said Paul Hunt YMCA Bedfordshire CEO

“Approx 85% of our residents aged 16-25 state that a family breakdown was a catalyst for their homelessness and of the six main risk factors associated with family breakdown the first two focus on disengagement with school. Our F4YP programme looks to tackle these risk factors head-on by helping support marginalised, disadvantaged 5 – 16-year-old children, young people and their peers through after school and holiday clubs.

"This funding could save millions of pounds in the costs of social and health care which arise when people become homeless and their lives spiral downwards." 

Fun4Young People - starting at age 5

F4YP seek to make their session very affordable with 75% of placements going to disadvantaged and marginalised pupils. Fees to attend all their sessions are purposefully kept low with some after school activities only charging £2.30.  Of course it means that these activities are immensely popular with parents who cannot afford private clubs, or feel excluded from other more expensive activities. 

We work with schools serving the most challenging areas and encourage pupils to join our clubs. We aim for our courses to be accessible, great fun and enhance the learning appetites for those that attend. Subject tutors get the opportunity to showcase elements of the subjects that may not always be taught in the classroom until a later age, for example science experiments, music and drama. The 1-2-1 reading sessions we provide have been fantastically successful and help children to look forward to school lessons they previously disengaged from” said Sophie Stock F4YP Youth Services Lead

We are thrilled to be recipients of the Big Lottery funding as it allows us the opportunity to not only maintain our current services which support approx. 400 young people per academic year but will enable us to expand into other much needed areas across Bedford.

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