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“If it wasn’t for Colchester YMCA and the commitment of their staff, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” (Former tenant Greg, on a visit to YMCA Essex to invite staff to his passing out ceremony having completed army training)

YMCA Essex has a 44-room supported housing unit in Colchester. We house young people aged 16-25, supporting them to ensure that they will become responsible adults, working or in education/training, who are able to maintain a tenancy and look after themselves when they leave YMCA. The residents are able to stay at the YMCA for a two year period, and after support and training we successfully move them on to independent living.

If you need housing…

YMCA Essex takes referrals through the Colchester Joint Referral Panel.

If you’re aged between 16 and 24, homeless or vulnerably housed and need supported housing, which could include moving in to YMCA Essex, please contact Colchester Borough Council Housing Advice or Colchester Youth Enquiry Service.

Our tenants say…

“You have all been so lovely, helpful and kind! Without most of your support I probably wouldn’t have been able to get where I have. I will remember everything each and every one of you has done for me!” (Paris, February 2014)

I am very happy with this opportunity in which the YMCA has given me. If I wasn’t living here, I don’t see that I would have got the same chance on my own.” (Molly, November 2012)

“Thanks Colchester YMCA, I now have my own place, a puppy and soon work as an art teacher volunteer. You mean a lot to me, I hope you’re all ok and I will visit. You all helped me.” (Sara, former resident)

Tenant Participation

Residents’ meetings take place every three weeks, with an average attendance of 14 young people. We discuss any issues they have, and organise activities etc- things they would like to do, or any ideas they have for YMCA. These meetings have resulted in the pool table being re-covered, a paint colour chosen for the crash room, certain websites becoming unblocked on their computers, voluntary work for young people being started in the CO1 café, a boat painting project being started, and a new basketball and hoop purchased for the young people.

We also arrange ‘Come Dine With Me’ events, where young people choose what recipes to cook and then help with the preparation and cooking of the meals before we all sit down to eat. It is a great social activity, and lets the young people spend time together as well as teaching them valuable cooking skills and healthy eating. We aim to hold a ‘Come Dine With Me’ each month.

If you would like to know more, please contact Sophie Mattei by emailing sophie.mattei@ymcacolchester.org.uk or call 01206 579415.

Local Housing Review Panel (LHRP):
YMCA Essex wants to provide the services people want and to the best standard that it can. To do this, we need to take into account the views and concerns of our tenants and the community on the quality and relevance of our work. As a result we have formed a Local Housing Review Panel, consisting of staff members, Trustees and tenants, to review, comment, advise and suggest on improvements to Colchester YMCA’s housing work.

The LHRP meets at least four times a year. If you would like to become involved in this group, please read our Terms of Reference for more information, or call the YMCA on 01206 579415.

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