Charles Kenyon's Country Diary: I am guilty of past prejudice to the YMCA

The charity has evolved its mission brilliantly into the 21st century

Charles Kenyon
Charles Kenyon

If you’d have said YMCA to me until recently I would have thought of youth hostels and over-enthusiastic singing with a slightly embarrassing message. What foolishness is uninformed prejudice.

YMCA Lincolnshire, together with the Nomad Trust, is a forward-looking entrepreneurial provider of support to people of all ages. For the youth sector it provides physical recreation through a health centre, providing services from an indoor gym/fitness centre with courses for personal trainer qualifications and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. There is a 21-bed night shelter with showers, laundry, hot food and, crucially, non-judgemental companionship. It runs 129 units of supported accommodation and childcare day centres in Gainsborough and Lincoln.

Every March, there is a sponsored "sleep easy" outside Lincoln Cathedral. It has raised more than £10,000 towards the next project, a big new night shelter with access to medical staff, public health advice and financial and social services. YMCA Lincolnshire is built on an impressive property and commercial bedrock with significant partners; owing sites in the city, it hires out facilities to fund the outreach work. YMCA Lincolnshire strives to help young people in a hard place discover their potential. YMCA was founded in 1844 in response to the unhealthy conditions in new cities. It has evolved its mission magnificently into the 21st century.

Charles Kenyon lives near Market Rasen, retiredcolonel@oldvicarage.net

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