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I always loved the character Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Not because I am like him (although my children may disagree). But because his story is perhaps the best example that what ultimately matters in life is community, kindness and care.

It was on these three principles, that in 1844 – a year after Dickens’ novel was first published – Sir George Williams founded YMCA, helping people in his community. Those principles remain today, where YMCA -as an international body – cares for the welfare of millions of people worldwide.

But Christmas can be an especially challenging time for our residents – many affected by ghosts of their own past. And this year is particularly difficult, as the young people we support are disproportionally affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Here at YMCA MK, we will use the festive period to ensure our young people continue to feel supported and a valued part of our community. Our gift to them is our time, kindness and friendship – all of which is aided by the fantastic support of our staff, trustees, volunteers and supporters.

Dickens and Williams may no longer be with us, but their words and deeds live on. The best way we can honour their legacy is to remember that Christmas – as with all times of the year – is a time for community, kindness and care.

For YMCA MK, that means giving young people a warm home and people they can trust to support them so they can belong, contribute and thrive.

From everyone at YMCA MK, we’d like to thank you for your continued support, and wish you and your families a happy and healthy Christmas.

Simon Green, CEO YMCA MK.