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Read on to find out what our Supported Housing Coach, Emma, believes makes YMCA MK so unique for both residents and staff.

I’ve worked with children and young adults throughout my career, and I jumped at the chance to join YMCA MK when a Supported Housing Coach position became available in 2019.

There are so many things that I love about my role. As a Supported Housing Coach, I work with a diverse group of residents. I know that a quick conversation on a stairwell with one resident can have the same impact as an hour-long support session with another. As staff we can make an impact in so many ways.

One of my highlights to date was the transition from our old building to our new campus. Our new residence on North Sixth Street is vibrant, welcoming, modern and offers everything that a young person would want in a home. I believe our campus lifts our residents’ spirits and gives them a sense that they are worth it. This is really important for the self-esteem of the people we support.

The impact of COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, 2020 was an incredibly challenging year. Supporting more than 200 young people throughout lockdown was difficult and we could see the impact of ongoing isolation on the mental wellbeing of our residents. As staff we responded by working emergency shift patterns to make sure that we could maintain support for our young people, while working in bubbles to keep staff safe. Inevitably, we all worked longer shifts, but we were supported by management and the commitment and efforts of staff was always acknowledged.

Staff investment

One of the reasons why I would recommend YMCA MK as an employer is because the charity invests a lot of resources in staff development. We receive comprehensive training each year and staff are encouraged to identify additional training needs to ensure that we have the skills and tools needed to best support our residents.

This is part of YMCA MK’s efforts to provide resident support in a psychologically informed environment, which focuses on people’s assets and strengths rather than deficits. But it goes beyond our residents and includes how we as staff work together. It’s a real opportunity to create a culture that meets the emotional and wellbeing needs of everyone within our campus.

We have a great staff team, and everyone is valued.  Whether you’re a coach, housekeeper, receptionist or manager, we all equal and fundamental. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I feel YMCA MK adopts a similar approach, because our residents are at the heart of everything we do.

Want to support our invaluable work?

You can help by donating so that we can continue to develop our support services to help our young people thrive.