YMCA: Promoting health amongst young people

Presented by Richard James, Chief Executive Officer, YMCA London South WestYMCA

How Do We Do It?

  • Holistically; encompassing Mind, Body and Spirit.

Look at the individual as a whole. Though they may look happy on the outside what is really going on inside? Pressure from peers, parents etc,

  •  Engage individuals in relative themes e.g. music and sports.

We have seen our youth programmes grow by engaging people in to areas they enjoy such as music, sports, dance and arts. Then this gives us the opportunity to listen, help where help is needed and to allow discussion of spirituality.

  • Staff upholding the Christian ethos and being supportive.

This differentiates us from other youth programmes, the Christian ethos being a driving force to provide new opportunities for those that would not normally access our programmes.

  •  Inspiration from the young people.

Listen to what they want and be lead by their voice (within reason). Gig nights, late night café’s.

  •  Guidance from God.

Self Explanatory


Positive Change

  • Healing of the Mind, Body and Spirit

Soothing anger, helping ease loss, losing loneliness and maintaining a healthy living.

  •  Confidence building

Getting involved in new activities, meeting new people, taking on responsibilities and all this applies to the volunteers as well.

  •  New friendships

Community projects open out new opportunities to  meet the neighbour or a new school pupil.

  •  Enhanced life skills

Leadership skills, being independent,

  •  Employment opportunities


  •  Openness to explore

Talking to staff about God and spirituality, opportunity to pray

  •  Removing barriers

Being able to run programmes for individuals that are inclusive and near to them.


How To Make A Change

  • Research

What is missing, what is already being run, demographics

  •  Listen to needs

Run activities that people want

  •  Ask others

Get guidance from those already running similar projects and get feedback

  •  Partners

Engage with new partners, police, local authority, YMCA

  •  Funding

Plenty of funding opportunities available or fundraise

  •  Staff and volunteers

Selecting the right staff wit the same vision. Almost ‘sticky types’

  •  Review, monitor and evaluate

Check progress, ask individuals what they think, what can be improved, added or changed

YMCA presentation


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