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Photographs taken by our young residents illustrating how they feel about our new campus form an exhibition that is part of ongoing research by the University of Northampton (UON).

Photovoice – which opened at the MK Gallery on 7 June and will run until 26 June – will showcase photographs taken by young people who live at YMCA Milton Keynes.

Their photos explore the challenges they faced before coming to the YMCA, their feelings about the campus and the impact of the support they receive. The photos will be accompanied by recorded conversations, telling their stories, including origami making and how one woman uses boxing to build her confidence and manage feelings of anger.

The exhibition will be held at the MK Gallery’s Project Space and is free to attend. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. There will be an official opening ceremony on 11 June from 3pm to 5pm where members of the public can come and ask YMCA and UON staff questions about the project.

Since moving into our campus in March 2020, we are creating a new approach and service to better support a growing number of young people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the city.

The research will illustrate findings from an evaluation assessing the social impact of our new service and its short and long-term outcomes on young people aged 18-35. The researchers hope the project and exhibition will stimulate discussion and highlight the importance of practical, emotional and employment support for young people in Milton Keynes.

Tao Giroletti – Researcher in Social Innovation & Impact – is the project’s lead. She said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this experience with the Photovoice participants, but we all came a long way. They taught me so much about their journeys and who they are, and how powerful working on ourselves can be.

“Being able to participate in this research is making me very proud of what I do, so I want to thank the participants, YMCA and the MK Gallery for making this possible.”

Our CEO, Simon Green, added: “We are really proud of our residents who have taken part in this project. This is a unique opportunity to share their experiences with the wider community in Milton Keynes.”

You can click here for more information about exhibitions showing at MK Gallery.