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When Tom came to live at YMCA MK, he moved straight into the third stage of our pathway of support – Independent living. As he didn’t have the experience of living in our Supported and Shared accommodation, he hadn’t had the opportunity to meet other residents. We encouraged Tom to take part in our Activity Programme, so he could meet other young people living on campus.

To start with, Tom joined some of our art sessions. He found the creative workshops relaxing and the informal structure created a comfortable environment for him to meet other residents. This gave him a sense of belonging to our community.

It wasn’t long before he felt confident enough to try more activities. At YMCA MK, we run weekly yoga classes, so Tom decided to give it a try. By taking part in yoga, Tom noticed the benefits on his mental wellbeing and felt that it helped him to manage his mood.

Despite the lockdowns that took place in 2020/21, we were able to continue hosting our weekly yoga classes using Facebook Live on our residents’ private Facebook page. The virtual sessions meant that our residents wouldn’t have to miss out and, along with the other residents, Tom continued to find out more about the benefits of yoga including breathing, stretching and mindfulness.

Slacklining was another activity that Tom enjoyed taking part in, and the balancing act of walking along a tightrope is a good metaphor to illustrate how we have supported him. Throughout his stay at YMCA MK, Tom has worked hard to achieve his goals, but, like most people, had to overcome obstacles along the way. When Tom lost his balance, he knew there were lots of people around that he could lean on for support. Whether it was his Keyworker, Employment Coach or the Activities Coordinator, there was always someone for Tom to talk to. It reassured Tom to know that losing his balance and sometimes falling off the rope is OK. With our support, Tom has been able to steady himself and continue to take steps towards his goals.