๐˜๐Œ๐‚๐€ ๐‹๐ž๐ข๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ซ๐ž attend National Conference

 

YMCA England and Wales National Conference 2024 in Nottingham
YMCA England and Wales National Conference 2024 in Nottingham

 

Hold on to your hats because Thursday, July 4th, 2024, kicked off with Election Day and the start of the YMCA England and Wales National Conference! It promised two days of excitement and engagement at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham.

Roy O'Shaughnessy at YMCA National Conference 2024 in Nottingham
Roy O’Shaughnessy at YMCA National Conference 2024 in Nottingham

Hundreds of eager delegates from across the nation showed up bright and early, grabbing their tea and coffee before diving into a jam-packed day (and a night of election-watching!). Roy Oโ€™Shaughnessy, the Conference Chair and YMCA National Board Chair, gave a hearty welcome in the Conference Theatre. โ€œWeโ€™re here to celebrate YMCAโ€™s awesome work nationwide,” he cheered. It was a delightful mix of new and familiar faces, with some folks just weeks into their YMCA roles (including yours truly) and others boasting over 40 years of service!

Paul Brown CEO of YMCA Leicestershire at YMCA National Conference 2024
Paul Brown CEO of YMCA Leicestershire

Paul Brown, Chief Executive of YMCA Leicestershire and National Board member, then kicked off with an inspiring devotion, sharing his YMCA journey. His passion and drive led him to become Chief Executive at just 36, making him the only Black chief executive at YMCA England and Wales for over a decade. Paulโ€™s story, including dealing with a tasteless anonymous gift, highlighted his relentless fight against discrimination and his commitment to the youth he serves and why he is considered by many in attendance as someone we should all look towards in leadership.

Youth Ambassadors at YMCA National Conference 2024
Youth Ambassadors at YMCA National Conference 2024

The first main session saw Jack Chesterman, Campaigns Manager at YMCA England & Wales, introducing Youth Ambassadors Siana Beard, Declan Carr, and Jessica Marriott. These young heroes bravely shared their experiences and roles, overcoming nerves to deliver powerful presentations.

Denise Hatton at YMCA National Conference 2024
Denise Hatton at YMCA National Conference 2024

Next up, Denise Hatton, National General Secretary of YMCA England & Wales, delivered a punchy address on the theme “Now’s Our Chance,” inspired by YMCAโ€™s Manifesto and future work. โ€œYMCA is now larger, stronger, more influential, and more cohesive, with a clear direction to serve young people and their communities,โ€ she said. โ€œThis conference is the place to forge lasting working relationships.โ€

Mark Gifford at YMCA National Conference 2024
Mark Gifford at YMCA National Conference 2024

After lunch, Mark Gifford, Chief Executive of the National Citizen Service, highlighted some worrying stats: 20% of young people live in poverty, and over 10% are out of education and training. Despite these challenges, Markโ€™s message was one of hope and breaking barriers.

The afternoon was buzzing with workshops: Richard James on YMCA St Pauls Group’s new Wimbledon development, Chris Kirkwood and Leo Copsey on YMCA Lincolnshire’s Youth Investment Fund project, and many more inspiring sessions from various YMCAs.

Ben Page of IPSOS at YMCA National Conference 2024
Ben Page of IPSOS at YMCA National Conference 2024

Day one wrapped up hilariously with Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos, dissecting the General Electionโ€™s implications for the charity sector with humour and honesty. And yes, he wore red socksโ€ฆ purely coincidental?

Soheila Hayek World YMCA at YMCA National Conference 2024
Soheila Hayek World YMCA at YMCA National Conference 2024

Day two kicked off early on Friday with more tired eyes than coffee cups, mainly through election watching and not the previous nights Bingo. Roy Oโ€™Shaughnessy welcomed everyone back before Soheila Hayek, President of World YMCA, discussed YMCAโ€™s global impact. โ€œYMCAโ€™s magic is in being both local and global, with YMCAs worldwide believing in our mission.โ€

The morning buzzed with over 15 workshops on leadership, marketing, impact data, and more. After a quick lunch, we dove into the final sessions.

Rev Richard Cole at YMCA National Conference 2024
Rev Richard Cole at YMCA National Conference 2024

The grand finale featured Strictly Come Dancing legend and part of The Communards, the Right Reverend Richard Coles. He delivered a keynote that took us through his incredible life journey, from homelessness to the YMCA, music, the church, and even a bit of dancing. (Marc, our new marketing guy, even snagged a cheeky selfie with him!)

Marc and Rev. Richard Cole at YMCA National Conference 2024
Marc and Rev. Richard Cole at YMCA National Conference 2024

The conference concluded with Roy Oโ€™Shaughnessyโ€™s final words, marking the end of a truly inspiring event. With over 350 delegates from more than 45 YMCAs, it was the most well-attended conference to date, already setting the stage for next year.

From my perspective as a newbie, the conference was brilliantly organised, filled with passionate people dedicated to empowering young people in England and Wales. YMCA, one of the oldest charities, continues to ensure every young person has a fair chance to discover who they are and what they can become. Cheers to that!

๐†๐จ๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐‘๐š๐ข๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐…๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐˜๐Œ๐‚๐€

๐†๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐”๐Š ๐†๐จ๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐‚๐ก๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐‘๐š๐ข๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐…๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐˜๐Œ๐‚๐€ ๐‹๐ž๐ข๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ซ๐ž

Thursday 27th June, marked a significant event for us with the inaugural Gallagher UK Golf Championship Day, successfully raising funds for YMCA Leicestershire. The day featured golf teams, raffles, and a Charity Auction, which all contributed to the YMCA cause.

The first ‘Overall Winners’ of the Gallagher UK Golf Championship were the team from Pride Consulting IMS , led by director Ryan Lunham, alongside teammates Matthew Powell , Michael Slattery, and Simon Knowles. Congratulations to the Pride Consulting team for their remarkable victory!

The 'Overall Winners' of the Gallagher UK Golf Championship were the team from Pride Consulting IMS for YMCA Leicestershire
The ‘Overall Winners’ of the Gallagher UK Golf Championship were the team from Pride Consulting IMS

Our โ€˜Nearest the Pinโ€™ Winners, sponsored by Parallel Office and Document Solutions Ltd, Melita POS Ltd, Rock Kitchen Harris, and QFS Manufacturing Limited , were Ronan Homer and Mike Slattery, who each received a certificate and a โ€˜๐†๐จ๐ฅ๐๐ž๐ง ๐๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ.โ€™ Notably, Sam Armstrong won two โ€˜Nearest the Pinโ€™ awards, earning two certificates and two โ€˜๐†๐จ๐ฅ๐๐ž๐ง ๐๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฌ.โ€™ (Please make up you own joke hereโ€ฆ)

Our โ€˜Nearest the Pinโ€™ Winners, sponsored by Parallel Office and Document Solutions Ltd for the Gallagher Golf Day for YMCA Leicestershire
Our โ€˜Nearest the Pinโ€™ Winners, sponsored by Parallel Office and Document Solutions Ltd

The โ€˜๐‹๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ƒ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐žโ€™ sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance UK , was claimed by Luke Watson from RW WINDOWS LTD with an impressive monster of a drive that stood unchallenged. Luke, it’s your title to defend next year!

The โ€˜๐‹๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ƒ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐žโ€™ sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance UK for The YMCA Leicestershire Golf Day
The โ€˜๐‹๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ƒ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐žโ€™ sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance UK

The โ€˜๐Œ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก,โ€™ awarded by PGA โ€˜AAโ€™ Professional and Level III Coach Tony Westwood for outstanding putting prowess, went to Mick Reeves, a guest of Red Carpets Leicester.

The โ€˜๐Œ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก,โ€™ awarded by PGA โ€˜AAโ€™ Professional and Level III Coach Tony Westwood for YMCA Golf Day
The โ€˜๐Œ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ญ๐œ๐ก,โ€™ awarded by PGA โ€˜AAโ€™ Professional and Level III Coach Tony Westwood

Lastly, the โ€˜๐–๐จ๐จ๐๐ž๐ง ๐’๐ฉ๐จ๐จ๐งโ€™ was humorously awarded to event founder and supporter Andrew Franks and his team, including YMCA Leicestershire Trustee David Glover, who opted to forgo scoring for the dayโ€ฆ (that was the excuse given after 18 holes anyway!)

The โ€˜๐–๐จ๐จ๐๐ž๐ง ๐’๐ฉ๐จ๐จ๐งโ€™ Award for the YMCA Leicestershire Golf Day
The โ€˜๐–๐จ๐จ๐๐ž๐ง ๐’๐ฉ๐จ๐จ๐งโ€™ was humorously awarded to event founder and supporter Andrew Franks and his team.

The Gallagher UK Golf Championship Day was filled with great humour, and camaraderie and enjoyed a day full of good golf, bad golf, awful shots, over trees, under trees and wombling free (probably) and creating memorable moments.

Paul Brown, CEO of YMCA Leicestershire said, โ€œThe commitment of people to return next year speaks volumes about the eventโ€™s success and its support for one of Leicestershireโ€™s oldest charities, the YMCA. So thank you to everyone for making this event a triumph for YMCA Leicestershire! We look forward to working with Gallagher UK to making an even bigger and better event next year!โ€

 

For more information on how you can help YMCA Leicestershire: JUST CLICK HERE!

 

Sleep Easy at King Power raises ยฃ16,000

On Tuesday 16th May 2023, 55 volunteers arrived at King Power Stadium with sleeping bags in hand, ready to swap their beds for cardboard boxes to support local people experiencing homelessness.

 

After some smooth jazz courtesy of Curtis and Steve and an introductory talk by YMCA Leicestershire CEO, Paul Brown, our participants headed out into the area and set up their cardboard boxes where theyโ€™d be sleeping for the night.

 

With a prize on the line for best designed box, there was no shortage of fairy lights and flags, not to mention multi-storey box set-ups complete with a tuck shop, courtesy of our enthusiastic volunteers from the Co-op.

 

 

โ€œThe sleep-out was a truly eye-opening experience. Spending the night out in the open with nothing but a sleeping bag and a cardboard box is something I wouldnโ€™t wish on anyone. It was cold, uncomfortable, and I didnโ€™t sleep a wink. To think that there are young people who have to do this everyday, without security, proper sanitation or the promise of a sausage sandwich and a nice warm shower is absolutely heartbreaking.โ€ โ€“ Gemma, RKH

“My thoughts around taking part were that, as humans, we all have to understand that life and circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. Any of us could become homeless through no fault of our own and I think itโ€™s really important for us all to humble ourselves. This experience was just a small glimpse of how difficult it is for people living on the streets.”ย  Charlene, PA Housing

After a rough nightโ€™s sleep, our volunteers joined us for some morning exercise followed by hot drinks and breakfast courtesy the Holiday Inn.

 

Through their fundraising efforts, we raised close to ยฃ19,000 for local homeless young people and adults. These funds will enable YMCA Leicestershire to continue running and expand its vital services, which include providing safe and welcoming accommodation for homeless people aged 16-25, as well as personalised skills sessions to enable young people move forward positively with their lives.

 

We would like to thank everyone who took part and created such a buzz in the stadium including individual fundraisers and staff from Rock Kitchen Harris, PA Housing, Central England Co-Operative, Parallel, Unite Students, Hays, Leicester City Football Club and Leicester City in the Community, VF Corp, YMCA Coalville shop and YMCA Leicestershire staff.ย  The event would not have been possible without the huge support of an amazing venue and the support of Leicester City Football Club, exercise classes from LCFC in the Community, music from Curtis and Steve, breakfast at Holiday Inn Express, boxes from VF Corporation, marketing and promotion from RKH and FU Media.

 

If you would like to help support YMCA Leicestershireโ€™s work with homeless young people and adults, you can click here to donate.

Want to get involved in fundraising? Follow us on social mediaย  or sign up to our e-newsletter below to keep up to date with our latest events and opportunities.