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About Us

Who We Are

YMCA East Herts is one of over 100 YMCAs in England. We are an independent registered charity, established in 1994, that responds to the needs of the local community.

As part of the largest and oldest youth charity in the world, we form part of an inclusive Christian Movement specifically working alongside vulnerable young people from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures.

We have housing related support projects in East Hertfordshire and Stevenage with our registered office being located in Bishop’s Stortford.

 

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential in body, mind and spirit.

The sad reality is that many young people are simply not afforded this opportunity. For a whole variety of reasons, their lives are troubled and their future seems bleak. That’s where we step in.

We believe that all young people deserve to have a safe place to live and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Our mission is to enable young people to truly belong, contribute and thrive – and we create this possibility by providing:

  • A safe place to stay
  • An opportunity to make a fresh start
  • Effective needs based support
  • The tools to enable young people to thrive

Our History

1994 – YMCA Bishop’s Stortford established

Discussions began about establishing a YMCA in Bishop’s Stortford in 1990 following concern about the effects of growing homelessness in the town. YMCA Bishop’s Stortford (later to become YMCA East Herts) was established with collaboration between YMCA England, local churches and government bodies.

1996 – New accommodation opens

Our Northgate End facilities opened following a successful campaign to raise money for a supported housing unit available to vulnerable young adults  This contained 27 self-contained flats, an emergency crash pad, a training room for residents, a communal lounge, a laundry room, office areas and a separate staff flat.

2004 – Careers and educational advice service begins

YMCA Bishop’s Stortford passed the national Supporting People and Matrix quality assurance frameworks. We were then able to offer residents an information, advice and guidance programme to support their career and educational development. This expanded to outreach sites both in Hertfordshire and Essex.

2006 – Our five-year plan

Provision of two new communal units of supported accommodation for 16-17 year olds and access to five units of move-on accommodation via East Herts Council, annually was established. By 2006, having achieved the organisation’s initial objective, we embarked on an ambitious five-year plan.

2008 – New semi-independent accommodation

Between 2008 and 2010 we provided  semi-independent five-bed accommodation in Hertford. A year later, an increase in Hertfordshire County Council funding levels enabled 24 hour support, seven days a week at the 27-bed unit in Bishop’s Stortford.

2009 – YMCA changed name from Bishop’s Stortford YMCA to East Herts YMCA

To reflect the growing number of services being offered in East Herts the Trustees agreed to change the charity’s name to East Herts YMCA

2011 – New provision for care leavers in the local community established

Working with the department of Children’s Services at Herts County Council three properties in the local community were rented at commercial rents to provide supported accommodation to care leavers / ‘children looked-after’

2011 – The ‘Reach Programme’ is launched

The ‘Reach Programme’ was established to provide mentoring for those clients and residents wanting to enter voluntary and employed positions. A new focus on enabling clients to be ‘work ready’ was prioritised (funding for the Reach Programme ended Oct 2013).

2013 – Asylum seeker accommodation introduced

This provided two five-bed properties for Asylum Seeker supported accommodation in Stevenage and a substantial increase in the provision of Careers and Educational Advice via the National Careers Service, across East Herts and West Essex.

2014 – Housing-related support contracts renewed

Hertfordshire County Council renewed housing related support contracts to 2017 and agreed a £19,000 uplift.

2015 – Careers and Educational Information, Advice and Guidance comes to an end

This ended on 31.03.15 after many years of delivering this service in Hertfordshire and Essex (2,201 sessions in the period 01.04.14 – 31.03.2015). While successfully tendering for a new contract the subsequent conditions attached created unacceptable financial risks for a charity the size of East Herts YMCA.

2015 – Provision of supported housing allocated to high risk individuals

At Herts County Council’s request a new programme was agreed to provide intensive support to two high risk ‘children-looked after’ at our properties in the local community

2016 – Renegotiation of Asylum Seeker Contract

Working with Herts County Council a new gross block contract was agreed ensuring the project remained financially viable.

2016 – Three outreach projects in the community handed back to private owners

Many years of work in the local community providing innovative support programmes for Children looked-after ended as funding priorities for Herts County Council changed. The projects were closed and the properties handed back to their owners.

2017 – Renegotiation of supported housing projects with Herts County Council

Our existing housing related support contract for the Northgate End premises in Bishop’s Stortford has been renewed to 2020. Unlike other providers, YMCA East Herts was very fortunate not to incur a 15% cut.

A new contract also agreed for the Asylum Seeker Project in Stevenage at an increased value based on a reconfigured service for 16-17 year old asylum seekers only.

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