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Luke came to YMCA MK just over a year ago after a breakdown in his family relationship.

Luke came to live at YMCA MK in 2022. He had behavioural issues at home and school due to the trauma he had experienced and moved out of the family home at 16. Before he came to YMCA MK he lived in various hostels and care-homes – this, and undiagnosed autism, made it really difficult to continue with his IT studies at college.

When he first arrived Luke was not in a good place, he was struggling with anxiety, confidence and dealing with his prior trauma. He says he ‘didn’t feel like a good person’ and is grateful to YMCA for the support and space he has been given to ‘work on himself.

YMCA MK runs a daily programme of physical and therapeutic activities to support resident’s physical and mental health. However, when he arrived Luke’s social anxiety and lack of confidence made it difficult for him to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

The activities team supported Luke and encouraged him to join in. At the beginning Rob, Physical Activities Lead, trained with Luke individually rather than in a group setting, until he felt able to join in the group sessions. ‘Rob has been great and helps me with what I need rather than what he thinks I need. I feel so much more confident now and love the gym.

Luke also enjoys therapeutic activities and takes part in craft and cooking sessions. He feels that he has been able to develop skills that will help him when he leaves YMCA MK.

Luke feels that Activities have helped him improve his confidence and self-esteem and joins in with most sessions as he enjoys the company and informal support on offer.

In addition to the Activities Team Luke’s Supported Housing Coach has also been able to support him. He wanted help with keeping his room clean and tidy and with his sugar addiction. In Luke’s words, ‘I have needed time and space to come to some of these decisions on my own and I have appreciated staff giving me the space to do this.’

We asked Luke what YMCA meant to him?

‘YMCA means a second chance to me – the trauma I have experienced could have led me to self-destruct but there is more support here than anywhere I have ever been. If you want the help staff here will support you in any way they can to change for the better.’