Shine is a YMCA model that has been developed by YMCA Leicestershire over the last 14 years based on our knowledge and experience of creating services that provide fair and equal access to young people experiencing complex needs.

Complex Needs are defined as when an individual is experiencing three or more cooccurring needs and are estranged from services. They often include, but are not exclusive to homelessness, mental health difficulties, relational difficulties, and maladaptive coping mechanisms such as self-harming and substance abuse. Needs are almost always developed in the context of childhood trauma and this has informed the development of our approach.

Created upon an understanding that young people who experience unmet needs often end up being isolated from supported accommodation, Shine provides a change management framework, training and coordination to supported accommodation providers with the intention of developing environments that better meet the needs of marginalised young people accessing homelessness services.

We use a successful hub and spoke model alongside an open and coproduced approach to focus on creating change at an organisational level in order to have impact at an individual level. Through our work we have produced better experiences and outcomes for those using YMCA services and for those working within them.

Our work is underpinned by the following principles:

  • Strengths Based: Our support recognises the strength, resilience and resourcefulness of young people who have experienced multiple disadvantage and helps them reauthor themselves as powerful agents of change.
  • No Wrong Door: Our support is holistic and understands that homelessness cannot be solved by providing a roof over a head but needs to address a multitude of needs, often simultaneously.
  • Young Person Led: We aim to involve young people at every stage of planning and delivery and at all levels. Young people are empowered to take the lead.
  • Trauma Informed: Our work recognises that most young people living at YMCAs have experienced some form of trauma and this can impact how they feel about themselves, others and the world around them. We understand behaviours in the context of trauma and try to provide an environment that is conducive to recovery from traumatic experiences.
  • Collaboration, Coproduction & Community: We want to develop an environment that works with and not to, shares responsibility and power, raises the profile of those with lived experience and empowers people to lead, initiate and innovate.
  • Worker Wellness: We know that staff cannot provide good quality care and support to our residents if they do not feel cared about and supported themselves. We have an understanding of the impact of this work on staff and provide opportunities for them to reflect and offload.

Our journey so far

Between 2019 and 2021 Shine worked with YMCA: Lincolnshire, Sutton Coldfield, Wellington & Telford, Burton, North Staffordshire and Heart of England and are now seeking to expand our impact across the YMCA federation. We have also developed a range of training modules available to organisations who are interested in becoming more trauma and complex needs informed.

If your organisation would like to discuss how Shine might add value to the work you do please check out our website or get in touch: [email protected]

Visit our Shine project website for more information

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“If I didn’t do things exactly as he wanted, he would smash things and spit in my face.”

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