Theatre stage is now accessible to all

We are delighted to announce that our Theatre Stage is now more accessible than it has ever been!  Thanks to financial support from the Theatres Trust Small Grants Programme over the past few months we have been able to purchase our new winch lift and have installed it in our Stage Left wing space.  This is just the start of our journey towards making The Y Theatre as accessible as we can within the boundaries of our Grade II Listed status.


Audiences and Performers will all be able to benefit from this new lift as it will allow us to offer a far more accessible stage for disabled performers and as it is moveable lift we will be able to utilise it elsewhere in the venue to support our audiences to access better sight lines.

For more information about the accessibility of The Y Theatre venue you can visit the venue website and download our Access Pack.

St Mungo’s and YMCA Employer Event

  • We were delighted to welcome a number of local businesses to The Y Theatre for our first Employer Engagement Event in February, for a lively session on promoting positive change for people who have experienced homelessness.  We’re working with St Mungo’s to show businesses how they can diversify their staff team and confidently recruit and sustain staff with lived experience. help people who have been homeless
  • YMCA Leicestershire has been working in partnership with St Mungo’s Leicester Recovery college for over a year with the aim of supporting our residents into employment.  Businesses can benefit from the expertise of our two charities, such as continuing support from an employment specialist and understanding trauma in a way that can benefit employees from many different backgrounds.

How this project evolved

We’re a small charity and we try to create partnerships where everybody benefits. We find that businesses are interested in projects that help young people gain skills. Alongside financial donations many are looking for relationships where they and their staff can get more involved.  So we started developing partnerships where the young people gain skills directly with employers, through work experience or suitable paid positions. This has worked really well. Local engineering company Impact Air created a “World of Work” programme to give young people experience.


Find out more about partnering with us

  • Contact Desrie Hadley: Employment Specialist at Leicester Recovery College, St Mungo’s on [email protected]
  • To find out more about supporting YMCA Leicestershire please email [email protected]

Community Cafe

From January to June 2023 we opened The Y bar for members of the public to grab a St Martin’s coffee and some cake, use our free wifi, crack on with work or just have a lovely moment of calm in a busy day.

Our Community Cafe provided a safe space for young people to do barrista training and gain confidence servicing customers. Thank you for supporting them!

Shine features on Podcast

Hannah Deignan​, Shine Project Co‑ordinator at YMCA Leicestershire was a guest on The Meaning of Home Podcast discussing the impact of homelessness on young people.  She was interviewed by host Sara Christou and joined by Phil Kerry, CEO of New Horizon Youth Club.

The Meaning of Home Podcast explores the complexities and connections between home and homelessness with different guests each month. Host Sara Christou and producer Dave Angel are Doctoral Researchers at Loughborough University, part of The Harnessing Opportunities for Meaningful Environments Centre for Doctoral Training (the HOME CDT)

Listen Now:


Join us at our free carol service 2022

Wednesday 7th December at 7pm

Come and join us for live performances, bible readings and carol singing. Our cosy carol service is a great time to meet with friends and celebrate Christmas with mulled wine and mince pies.

The event is free and open to all communities. However if you wish to give a donation you could help give a homeless young person a safe place to call home and the support they need to create lasting change in their lives.

Location: The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, LE1 6EY
Book your free tickets on our new theatre website

Young People help run the Bizarre Bazaar

Step back into a peculiar past, return to an era of the fancy faire!

Discover the factual and fantastical as we delve into the history of Leicester’s oldest theatre, built in 1900. Join in the celebration with a splendid array of themed shows at The Y Theatre’s Victorian Bazaar.

This event was created by our Y Heritage Project in partnership with Enter Edem Theatre Company as part of Heritage Open Days 2022. Thousands of venues across the UK are opening their doors, so you can visit places you never thought possible.

Please book your FREE place in advance, as last year sold out! Join us at 11am, 2pm or 4.30pm each day.  The 4.30pm session is perfect for families looking for an after school interactive heritage experience.  We suggest an hour to make the most of your visit.

Young People Get Involved!

Josh, a resident at The Y, is Assistant Director of our Bizarre Bazaar, working alongside Enter Edem and other young people to create a Victorian summer fete with characters, games and a few surprises.  As part of the Y Heritage jobs project a marketing and social media post was also created for a young person. Our visitors will see YMCA history through the eyes of a younger generation!

Monday 12th – Thursday 15th September 2022

Be My Buddy!

For more than a year now, The Y has been encouraging staff to get involved in our Buddy Scheme. Born out of a desire to encourage communication between individuals and departments and provide opportunities for growth, learning and development, the Buddy Scheme has been a welcome addition to life at The Y. With many staff taking the opportunity to engage and ‘Buddy Up’ with someone from across the organisation, colleagues are not only more able to understand a peer’s area of work, but also learn about a colleague’s interests outside the workplace. The Buddy Scheme is intended to connect two colleagues for a period of six weeks and once those six weeks are up, you’re allocated a new buddy to learn all about!

My first buddy was from the transitions team. We spent some time chatting about our roles and how they might support each other moving forward, my colleague in housing and myself in fundraising. I mentioned to my colleague, that we had been fortunate enough to receive a very generous donation of designer branded clothing. When I spoke to my colleague about how we could get the haul of designer goodies to our residents, she helped me organise a drop in for them. Residents were able to pop in and choose a number of items ranging from hoodies and hats to trainers, t-shirts and trousers. It was a great success, with all items being enthusiastically selected by our young people. Without my colleague’s support and experience, many of those items might not have been distributed yet, but now they are being worn and appreciated by our residents!

I’ve now been ‘Buddied’ with my colleague from the theatre team. Having a love of the theatre and writing, both passions my colleague shares, our first meeting was spent talking about our roles and all things theatre and writing. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to our next meet!
I think my takeaway from the Buddy sessions so far, is that if we can learn more about our colleagues; what they do in work and what interests them out of work, it not only encourages communication and creates a greater understanding of each other, but also gives you the chance to develop a relationship with someone in the organisation you might not have had the opportunity to otherwise do!

Violent Crime Project Launched

Pioneering community-based mentoring programme to support young people most at risk of involvement in serious violence

The Y has been selected as the lead provider in the launch of a new community mentoring project called Chance 2 Change (C2C). The Y will work with local partners to support young people to turn away from street-based violence.

Paul Brown, Chief Executive of The Y, said: “At The Y, we are clear about the role we can play in supporting our partners to address serious violent crime in Leicester & Leicestershire.  Our extensive experience of designing and delivering projects that engage young people will be used as a foundation to ensure that this initiative makes a real difference in our community.

We understand the challenges that young people face and how negative influences impact on their choices and this project will address these and offer young people positive alternatives for change.”

Mentors will work to encourage positive social norms and dispel myths and stereotypes around issues such as masculinity, gangs and weapon carrying. They will also offer emotional support and aim to improve young people’s social skills, supporting them to navigate and access support across the system in order to achieve their goals.

The Chance 2 Change project is funded by Leicester City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Charnwood Community Safety Partnership and Leicester’s Violence Reduction Network (VRN). The project, launched in Spring 2022 represents part of Leicester’s knife crime and serious violence strategy.

Cllr Kirk Master, Leicester’s assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods, said: “I’m really pleased that we are funding this new service, which is unique – as was our approach to the strategy, by engaging and using co-designing models with communities. By working together in this way, we can support young people at risk of knife crime to turn their lives around.”

Grace Strong, Director of the Violence Reduction Network (VRN), said: “We are investing in this project because we believe communities are in an ideal position to reach young people most affected by violence. A core aim of the VRN is to better understand what is effective in preventing and reducing violence affecting young people.”

Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and Chair of the Violence Reduction Board, said: “No organisation can solve violence on its own. This project is partnership working at its best and utilises the expertise and experience of a collection of agencies to secure the best outcomes for young people.”

Cllr Leigh Harper-Davies, Lead Member for Community Support at Charnwood Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to support The Y and its new mentoring project. This offers new opportunities to intervene early with young people who are at risk of experiencing violence and alter the path they are on for the better. By increasing resilience through mentoring and developing relationships with young people, we can help them to resist negative influences and make more informed choices.”

Young people will be able to self-refer to the scheme or be referred by a partner organisation, family or community link. Visit the C2C project page for more information.

A Big Thank You – Christmas 2021

Although the past couple of years have proved to be quite tough for everyone, this hasn’t stopped YOU, our wonderful local community, from stepping up and supporting young people who are also facing homelessness.

We have been totally bowled over by the love, support and generosity we have received this Christmas. Whether you donated a shoebox stuffed with Christmas cheer or some much loved festive fare or maybe you donated a Christmas gift or a selection box full of chocolate gorgeousness, every single act of kindness has been well and truly felt and the impact of this continuous stream of heartfelt donations will last much longer than just Christmas.

‘It was a very nice feeling to give out presents that had been donated. The young people felt very happy. Some of our residents don’t have family or loved ones and I felt by giving them something, it connected us and our young people to others, creating stronger communities and helping build a happier society for everyone.’ (Housing Team)

We were fortunate enough to receive donations from many individuals, community groups, businesses and schools. Here are just a few of those wonderful organisations:

  • Judgemeadow Community College
  • Leicester Grammar School
  • Leicester University Student Participation and Engagement
  • St Leonard’s Church, Swithland
  • The Cedars Academy
  • B.A.P.S Charities, Leicester
  • Sporting Markfield U8 Foxes
  • Keyham Lodge
  • Prince’s Trust
  • Tree Top Adventure Golf
  • Give For Good
  • John’s House
  • NCS
  • Asda

We would like to thank absolutely everyone involved in supporting our residents during the festive season – We think you’re all Super Stars!

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the best for 2022!

Black Lives Matter Too! exhibition

We are proud to be a host venue for a powerful project capturing the responses of Leicestershire people to the Black Lives Matter movement. You can come and visit the exhibition up until Friday 29th of October at The Y Theatre Tuesday and Wednesday, 2pm until 4pm and also for one hour before any shows. Our theatre is at 7 East Street, Leicester.

The Black Lives Matter Too! Project was co-curated by Leicestershire County Council’s Participation team and Opal 22, an arts organisation which empowers members of the Black community to become more active participants in heritage and culture. The organisations worked together with local people and dedicated volunteers to capture their lived experiences of racism and its effects, as well as exploring solutions for challenging racism.
Individuals and organisations were also asked to pledge to make positive changes in support of Black Lives Matter – with all the material gathered during the project being brought together in a powerful exhibition which ran at Charnwood Museum earlier this year and which can still be viewed online in virtual form – including more than over 40 video testimonies from local people – at Community Curators.

Paul Brown, CEO at The Y said: “We are delighted to be hosting this incredible exhibition. We want to support as many people as possible to access it and learn from the experiences of local people. The Y has formed a “Responding to #BLM” group with other YMCAs in the region to listen to the voices of black staff and service users, share experiences and build trust within our charities. We hope this exhibition will help others to reflect and generate their own ideas for positive change.”

Our Pledge
The Y have made a commitment to appoint a Trustee with lead responsibility for Equality & Diversity, who will report to the Board of Trustees annually. All staff at The Y will participate in an external Equality & Diversity perception survey and The Y will continue to provide training for all staff (at all levels) on Equality & Diversity.