On 6th June YMCA Sutton Coldfield celebrated Founders Day which marked 180 years of the YMCA movement. 

YMCA Sutton Coldfield celebrated 180 years of the YMCA movement on the 6th June, Founders Day. Created from humble beginnings in nineteenth century London, 22-year-old draper George Williams joined together with a group of friends to organise the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets of London.

180 years to the day, YMCA has grown to serve more than 65 million people across 120 countries, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic background, rooted in our inclusive Christian values. YMCA is the worlds largest and oldest charity working with young people and their communities.

YMCA Sutton Coldfield has been around for over 100 years. Each year they support around 800 young people and adults across their services, Housing, support for young carers, youth work and disability. All YMCA’s are independent and responsible for generating their own funds.

YMCA Sutton Coldfield marked the occasion of Founders Day by inviting the community to celebrate with them including unveiling the renovation work that has recently been completed. Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust funded extensive work to The Lodge including replacing its roof and widening the doorway at the top of the ramp for wheelchair access. The Youth Work room and the “Pod” have been entirely redecorated to create modern youth work spaces including a gaming area and dedicated podcast space funded by Comic Relief. The Sensory room has been updated following a generous donation from parents of young people using the services. The resident’s kitchen was recently refurbished by a group of volunteers led by Clare Whalley of Meta4 Business Coaching.

“We are so grateful for the support of our funders and the community. Being able to update our facilities makes such a difference to the young people we work with” Rachel Dutta Choudhury, Bid Writing, Fundraising and Development Manager.

The celebrations continued with formal openings of The Lodge by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Cindy Yip, the resident’s kitchen by Clare Whalley and the Sensory Room by Aaron who is part of YMCA’s Stepping Up service. There were also family activities on the lawn, refreshments and a special film “My YMCA Story” bringing together people’s experiences of YMCA Sutton Coldfield over the years. The event was well attended and brought together a number of people and organisations from the local area.