We are so proud to announce that we have been nominated for FOUR Youth Matters Awards including a nod for YMCA of the Year.

Youth Matters Awards are for young people, staff and volunteers from YMCAs across England and Wales who are honoured every year for their outstanding achievements, inspiring feats against adversity and tireless dedication to provoke change.

Our nominations are:

  • YMCA of the Year
  • Young Achiever of the Year (Jordan Everard)
  • Young Volunteer of the Year (Grace O’Donovan)
  • Training & Education Project of the Year (Step Up)

Learn more about our nominations below

In the past 12 months we have seen YMCA North Staffordshire grow from strength to strength. We have increased our engagement with young people by developing existing work and leading on new and exciting initiatives including:

Increasing our Community Housing stock for young workers by 50%. We now have 34 houses (68 units)

Family work
Increased our range of services offered to children, young people and families. New services include our Supported Lodgings Scheme and we have also expanded our geographical area to include Stafford.

Employment & Skills
Launching our Thrive campaign which seeks to engage business with anything from a starter home pack to sponsoring a young person through University. We have already engaged with 60 plus businesses and secured private investment to support the campaign.

Training & Education
Partnering with Staffordshire University with eight young people and two staff completing the introduction to Higher Education course and three going on to degrees. NCS engaging with over 650 of young people, delivering 53 of social action projects and raising over £10,000.  Delivering the first Youth Ambassador Network across the City, delivering in 80% of secondary schools.

Increasing our volunteer numbers to over 50

Health & wellbeing
Delivered Community Youth Work activities to over 1000 young people

Increased our Y Active membership to 146 members of the community

On top of this we have also Hosted 14 community Meals with the University, SCFC, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue plus many more, feeding over 1500 people at our Youth Campus, Delivered arts, food and sports activities to 500 people over the summer at our family community picnics, increased our footfall on campus by over 20%, supported and secured funding for 19 young people to take part in International Residential to Romania, Srebrenica, Berlin, Canada, Thailand.

Through the Bertarelli Foundation support, YMCA North Staffordshire has significantly increased its engagement and partnership working with Staffordshire University. The project works on a number of initiatives to break down barriers to higher education and over the past 12 months, we have seen six young people achieve the Stepping Up course as well as two members of our staff team. Of those, three have now embarked on a full degree programme and the others are using their qualification, have gained employment.

The partnership is about doing lots of work to break down barriers to learning and initiatives to support this include:

  • Hosting our annual prom at the Student Union so that young people accommodated with us start to see the University as a place where they belong
  • Worked with the university so that young people from both the YMCA and the University took part in the Srebrenica delegation
  • The university offers experiences to YMCA young people including being VIP’s at their end of year drama celebration / using the music studios
  • Working with the University to offer activities to young people aged 10 – 15 from our community youth work initiative – including an exotic zoo keeper experience
  • Using the University refectory as a space to chat and engage
  • The University sponsors a space on campus where they also release a member of staff to come and spend time with Young people living at YMCA North Staffordshire

We feel that Stepping Up is a great initiative and really allows young people the space and input to break down barriers and re-engage with learning

Jordan Everard

Jordan first came to YMCA North Staffordshire in 2015 but only stayed a short while. As a young teenager in the care system, Jordan found it difficult and by his own admission would often find himself in trouble.

In 2018, Jordan returned to YMCA following a difficult two years as he had unfortunately lost both his job and his accommodation. He was very nearly sent to prison. However, Jordan was keen to make lasting changes to his life. On moving back in, he quickly engaged with his Personal Development Coach. Working together, they developed clear goals to get his life back on track. As a result of his commitment and hard work, Jordan is now thriving. In his own words, Jordan says: “I now feel like a totally different person. I look back at where I was this time last year and now and I see a totally different me. I feel focused and driven and I am so grateful to YMCA North Staffordshire for believing in me and helping to give me a second chance”.

Jordan has achieved so much in the past year. He founded YMCA North Staffordshire’s first football team, casting aside anyone’s doubts about his commitment by helping the team to reach the finals in their first two competitions. He also started to volunteer with our maintenance team and engaged with BBC Radio Stoke’s ‘Make A Difference’ project where with other young people he secured the support of donors to create a new outside patio area. He then volunteered in the café and developed his baking skills which are now legendary across the organisation! This passion led to Jordan being offered a position within the catering team. Other key achievements include volunteering within a Roma Camp where he and others helped build facilities for a community which has so little.

Grace O’Donovan

Grace is a 25-year old who has, for over two years, freely volunteered her time week in, week out to YMCA North Staffordshire’s Family Contact Centre.

YMCA North Staffordshire provides this Family Contact Centre as we know how important it is for children and young people to spend quality time with their parents and extended family members. Sadly, for many families accessing this service, relationships have broken down. Providing a safe and neutral environment, we help to rebuild these relationships so that family life improves for everyone.

However, without the dedication of volunteers, this Centre simply would be unable to operate. That is why we would like the hard work of Grace to be recognised. Grace is always warm, positive and approachable. She ensures that children are always safe and happy and have a brilliant experience with their family members each week. She has developed her own personal skills as a childcare practitioner to keep the centre new and exciting for the children.

Every Saturday, Grace offers 7 hours of her time to set up the Centre so that it is a fun space for children and young people to visit. She warmly welcomes children and parents, signs them in and helps to deliver fun-filled activities. Grace is full of passion and wants the very best for every family she meets.