Heritage Open Days 2021 – Y Heritage Summer Fete

England’s largest festival of history and culture is back for 2021!

The Y is delighted to be part of Heritage Open Days again this year, England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,000 local people and organisations and thousands of volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.

Join the fun at Leicesters oldest theatre for our Y Heritage Edwardian Summer Fete where you’ll find a theatre full of traditional parlour games, side shows and suitably dressed Barkers to get you playing and winning (and chuck out the cheats!) there will even be the Olde Sweetie Shoppe for prizes and treats, you only get a prize if you win!

Find out more at Heritage Open Days

Please join young people at the Y Theatre for our Y Heritage Summer Fete, places are limited and booking is essential.
Book your tickets here.

Event Times:
Monday 13 September: 11:00; 14:00 & 17:00
Tuesday 14 September: 11:00; 14:00 & 17:00
Wednesday 15 September: 11:00; 14:00 & 17:00

Youth Matters Award Nomination for Y Heritage

Our innovative Y Heritage Project has been shortlisted for Training & Education Project of the year in YMCA’s Youth Matters Awards! Over the last three years young people living at The Y have been empowered to commission local heritage projects and taken part in some exciting placements, making a big impact on local culture. We are one of 116 local YMCAs supporting disadvantaged young people across the UK with many amazing young people and projects nominated. A massive well done to The Y Heritage team and our young people – please vote and share to give them the recognition they deserve!

Voting closes 13th August – find Y Heritage in the Training & Education category!
CLICK HERE to vote.

With thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players.

Young People Visit Castle Hill Archaeological Dig

What a great Saturday at an archaeological site in Castle Hill! Who knew that this historic site of regional significance is in Beaumont Leys? We took a group of young people to get some hands on dig experience and they really enjoyed the visit. We found everything from roman pottery, roof tiles and even a pigs jaw with teeth still in place!
Thank you so much to Mathew Morris and University of Leicester Archaeology department for giving us this opportunity to visit their dig!

Heritage Ambassadors receive AAA Foundation award

Heritage Ambassadors receive Antoin Akpom Achievements Foundation award for Community Achievement.

Y Residents Rochana, Carl and Heather coordinated Tours and Talks at the Y Theatre as part of Heritage Open Days 2020. Coordinating and managing the public tours with the Y Heritage Team was no easy task especially with the pandemic causing additional challenges.

Congratulations to these brilliant Heritage Ambassadors on this AAA Award and thank you to the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Lottery players for supporting this event.

Watch this short film to find out more about Heritage Open Days and the Y Heritage project.

WotBox Heritage Newsroom

On Thursday 10th of December, some young people from The Y and joined by some young people from Focus Charity delivered the WotBox Heritage Newsroom supported by our fabulous partners, Documentary Media Centre. This event was a 4 hour special consisting of both live and pre-recorded interviews. Please do have a look at all of the interview on the Wot Space Facebook page. It is fascinating listening to discussions between young people and heritage organisations collaborate and share ideas. We couldn’t be more proud of how our young people have embraced the project and become journalists to bring you these interviews. The interviews include some of the organsations who’ve received funding from our Y Heritage project, staff at The Y and much more.

“The Y Heritage Newsroom was an exceptional broadcast, over the last few weeks skilled colleagues have supported young people to learn and develop their skills around documentary media, podcasting, digital photography and social media. Young people have been liberated and allowed to ask questions and challenge movers and shakers in society and representations of heritage; yesterday that did just that and more!
Please watch the short interviews from the Y Heritage Newsroom (add link if appropriate) and be amazed at the professional quality and skills of all those who took part. I could not be prouder and want to thank all my colleagues and the young people for delivering an outstanding event.”
Juliet Martin, Y Heritage Project Manager

“The WotBox Heritage project has given young people an opportunity to expand on or develop new skills around the use of media equipment and the online platforms used across the Heritage sector today. As usual they shock adults with their level of understanding and grasp of the opportunities around them. They are willing to challenge stereotypes and make effective suggestions for how Heritage organisations can attract and engage with young people in meaningful ways. The willingness from organisations who took part in the newsroom to continue engaging with young people demonstrates that the value for those who participated in the WotBox Heritage project is immeasurable.”
John and Tina, Documentary Media Centre

Our thanks to all our interviewees:

Ros Kerslake, CEO National Lottery Heritage Fund
Amy Christer – Y Heritage Support Coordinator
Joanna Fleetwood-Smith – Business Development Director, The Y
Emma Fay – Artistic Director, Enter Edem
Saul Argent – Hope Streets Project Coordinator, Curious Minds
Rachel Ayrton – Learning & Interpretation Manager, King Richard III Visitor Centre
Zam Zam Yusuf – Heritage Development Officer, Leicestershire Cares
Jodie Lees – Creative Programme Manager, Sudbury Hall
Paul Brown – CEO, The Y
Juliet Martin – Y Heritage Project Manager & Tina Barton – Education and Engagement Director, Documentary Media Centre

Success at Y Heritage Project Shortlisting

After a busy few months of activities from home, Y Heritage is back in full swing with our young people taking part in arts and heritage based projects.

This week, five young people from The Y Heritage Project took part in round 5 of project shortlisting.

This shortlisting involved our young people selecting projects that would be awarded Y Heritage funding for future projects and activities.

Our young people were lucky enough to have Noel from Shire Grants (Leicestershire County Council) to facilitate this session. He shared his expert knowledge on the decision-making process and gave valuable tips on what to look for when selecting funding applications.

As a result of the engaging session, four projects have been shortlisted and will be invited to pitch to the young people panel in September.

We are extremely grateful for the support of Noel for delivering the session, the young people thoroughly enjoyed it and gained valuable experience from the day.

Heritage Open Days at The Y Theatre

Welcome to England’s largest festival of history and culture!

Every September some 46,000 volunteers across England organise 5,500 events to celebrate our fantastic history and  culture. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are FREE to explore

Y Heritage based at The Y in Leicester is excited to invite you to our Heritage Open Day event taking place  September 14, 15, 16th

This one-off event is being planned and run entirely by young people who engage with the Y working with our friends at the Documentary Media Centre. Find out about 175 years of the YMCA movement, how the Y Theatre started, the work we do today and plans for the theatre as we move into a new era. Young people who engage with the Charity will be your tour-guides, the tours and talks will be immersive and interactive, bringing the history of the YMCA and the theatre to life.

You might like to attend this event in your lunch-break or after work or even use it as a mid-morning team activity, whenever you visit we will welcome you to the Y. Our event is funded through the National Heritage Lottery Funds Kick the Dust project.


Each Tour & Talk lasts around 45 minutes and can accommodate only six people.

Spaces are extremely limited, we are hosting just 9 sessions over the three days and the event has gone live on the Heritage Open Day website so please respond ASAP if you would like to attend one of the sessions.

Booking is via email only at [email protected]


Event Times

Monday 14 September: 11:00-12:00 & 14:00-15:00 & 17:00-18:00

Tuesday 15 September: 11:00-12:00 & 14:00-15:00 & 17:00-18:00

Wednesday 16 September: 11:00-12:00 & 14:00-15:00 & 17:00-18:00


For directions, access and further information please go to:



COVID 19 safety measures: This event will run in line with local & national government guidelines at the time of the Heritage Open Day festival. We will ensure if there are any changes to the guidance or the event has to be postponed you will be informed. We are offering tours and talks to small groups only (6 people maximum) and social distancing will be observed. Hand sanitizer is available in public spaces and toilets and the Y has increased the cleaning regime in recent months.

Free Painting by Numbers for Residents

Y Heritage are working with Leicester Museums to provide painting by numbers kits to any residents who are interested.

The kits are completely free and include everything you need; paints, brush, etc.

If you are interested this could lead to an Arts Award Certificate!

For further information please speak to James – 07917658178 / [email protected]

Haunted Heritage Workshops

Enter Edem was successfully awarded funding by our panel of Y Heritage young people in March 2019. The project they want to bring to life is “Haunted Heritage”

Haunted Heritage is an opportunity for young people to be a part of the creative team and process for some spooky halloween tours! With weekly workshops running from the 6th of September through to the 25th of October and a weekend workshop on the 27th and 28th of July held at the Welford Road Cemetery visitors centre, they’ll explore and research the residents of Welford Road Cemetery and bring their stories to life!

They will become part of the creative process and learn vintage theatre techniques, theatrical tech and design, script writing and much more! These workshops will then finish with the Haunted Heritage Tours! Where for three ghastly nights the cemetery is bought to life with ghouls, ghosts and stories from the beyond, a theatre experience that shouldn’t be missed and not for the faint hearted…

If you interested in taking part, or want some more information please email [email protected] !

Sanctuaries by ArtReach

Sanctuaries was a project that successfully bid for funding from our Y Heritage team by local organisation, ArtReach. ArtReach has worked alongside some of the young people from The Y that are engaged with Y Heritage and some young people from Attenborough Arts Next Gen. Creatives. These young people took part in a series of workshops that were supported by ArtReach exploring their relationship with sanctuary. Preparation also included going to London to experience some immersive art installations and open up a conversation about what sanctuary means and their own ideas about safe spaces.

Sanctuaries is an exhibition of immersive installations that explore real and imagined safe spaces put together by these young people in All Saints Church on Highcross street. The exhibition will be open on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of June from 12noon until 7pm. Touch, smell and listen and interpret these safe spaces in your own way while exploring the complex relationship all people have with sanctuary.