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Ground-breaking ceremony kicks off £19M development for YMCA’s flagship home in Milton Keynes

A ground-breaking ceremony took place last week at YMCA MK, marking the beginning of construction for a state-of-the-art building in CMK to provide housing, support and services to local young people. Attendees included Martin Petchey, Mayor of MK and Peter Marland, Leader of the Council.

YMCA MK needs to raise £500K for its capital appeal and is calling on local people and businesses for support to ensure they can provide the best accommodation, resources and services possible to help young people turn their lives around and bring lasting change to all its residents.

“Our new flagship home will help vulnerable young people to become independent and will allow us to offer residents advice and workshops on things like career development and health and well-being”, says Simon Green, CEO of YMCA Milton Keynes.

YMCAs’ new home is due to open in September 2019 and will provide affordable accommodation for 199 residents, together with meeting and training rooms and units for social enterprises including a café and childcare services provided by Acorn Early Years Foundation. These social enterprises will provide work experience, training and career opportunities for the residents and a revenue stream for the charity.

Thank you to all of our early sponsors, including: Milton Keynes Council, Amazing CMK, RedEye, John Lewis, Albert Hunt and former YMCA MK resident, Festus Akinbusoye.

For information on the YMCA MK capital appeal or to find out more about how you can make a difference, please contact Anne Curran at anne@mkymca.com


SleepEasy 2018 goes ahead – despite snow and temperatures falling to -4C

Supporters and residents gathered at Y Base in Central Milton Keynes last Friday [16th March 2018] for SleepEasy, YMCA’s national campaign to highlight the issue of youth homelessness and raise funds to support the vital work of local YMCAs , despite forecasts for snow and temperatures plunging to -4C in the early hours of the morning.

The evening started with a joint event hosted by YMCA Milton Keynes and Citizens:mk – to launch its ‘House the Homeless’ campaign. During a panel discussion, involving Cllr Pete Marland, Leader MK Council, Gamiel Yafai, Chair of MK Homelessness Partnership, and Simon Green, CEO YMCA Milton Keynes, Citizens:mk members were able to ask questions and learn a lot more about the complexities of addressing the homeless situation in Milton Keynes. This was followed by an Assembly and series of contributions, including testimonies from two YMCA residents about their personal experience of being homeless and the showing, on video, of a moving new song about homelessness by pupils of Summerfield School.  Citizens:mk also presented Gamiel with a ‘Citizens Gold Award’ for the work that the Partnership had undertaken to date to address the homeless situation and pledged the support of its member organisations to work with the Partnership and MK Council in achieving their goal to eradicate rough sleeping in Milton Keynes by 2021.

As the majority of the participants in the Assembly headed for home shortly after 10:00pm a group of some 20 YMCA supporters and residents headed outside to start their night sleeping in temporary cardboard shelters or in small tents. The temperature did drop as predicted and rain soon turned to snow – leaving a light dusting across the encampment as people emerged in the grey dawn, grateful that they had a home to go to where they could thaw out: unlike the people still sleeping rough in Milton Keynes.

Supporter, Darren Thomson, Director of local video media agency, Movey, documented the evening with a short video [see above].

YMCA Milton Keynes would like to thank everyone who slept out – and their sponsors who so generously made donations; to Truby’s Garden Tea Room for feeding the sleepers on the Friday evening; to Sainsbury’s CMK for the breakfast on Saturday morning; to Citizens:mk and representatives from its member organisations for organising and participating in the discussion and Assembly – and also donating to SleepEasy – and entertainment from Tinkers Lane band that rounded off the evening in style.

You can still support YMCA Milton Keynes SleepEasy and hep raise vital funds for the work it carries out with formerly homeless young people by going to www.localgiving.org/donation/MKYMCA and leaving a message that includes ‘SleepEasy 2018’.


YMCA Milton Keynes’ application to become a Registered Provider of social housing approved

The redevelopment of YMCA Milton Keynes site in Central Milton Keynes made significant progress this week, following confirmation from the Regulator of Social Housing that its application to become a Registered Provider of social housing [RP] had been approved.

“The redevelopment of our site and the building of a new, purpose designed, campus where we can provide accommodation and support for formerly homeless young people is incredibly complex”, said YMCA Milton Keynes Chief Executive, Simon Green.

“Not only are there multiple land owners involved and multiple partners in the overall project – but also complex funding arrangements that need to be put in place. Approval of our application to become a Registered Provider is a major advance as it enables us to draw down a significant grant from Homes England, without which the new development could not have progressed.”

YMCA Milton Keynes has ambitious plans to build a new purpose designed eight storey campus building on part of the site it currently occupies in Central Milton Keynes. The new development will provide accommodation for 196 residents, 50 more than at present, together with improved training and meeting rooms for the delivery of its engagement, support and learning programme, and a number of units for social enterprises that will provide work experience, training and employment opportunities for some residents and an independent income for the charity, to fund its activities.

“This news is the successful culmination of more than two years work by the team at YMCA Milton Keynes led by Simon”, said chair of trustees, Cheryl Montgomery, “and moves us ever closer to being able to provide a modern, well equipped, building where we can accommodate and support some of the most vulnerable young people in our community and help them to turn their lives around.”


YMCA flats available for young workers

YMCA Milton Keynes has vacancies coming up in its flats in the city centre.

If you are 18-34 and in employment and would like to be considered, contact us now on 01908 295600 or e-mail admin@mkymca.com.

Our studio flats are unfurnished come with a small kitchen and bathroom. All flats have a balcony, giving you a small amount of private outdoor space.

YMCA can provide information and advice to people on a low wage about applying for Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit to help to meet housing and living costs.

Studio flat bed-sitting room with balcony

Studio flat – small kitchen


A visit to the MK Leaders Forum

Last week, Chloe (Residents Activities Manager) and Resident Corina attended the Citizens MK Leaders Forum. The Leaders Forum is a chance for different organisations to share their concerns within the Milton Keynes area and discuss issues they would like to change.

Corina, who is also involved with the setup of MK Matters (a group of young people from the YMCA pioneering to help and assist homeless and vulnerable people in the Milton Keynes area) had this to say about it.

On Tuesday 22nd November Chloe and I went to the Citizens MK Leaders Forum. This was held at MK Academy. We entered the large building and was greeted by a professional lady who escorted us into the lift. I walked into the large room with many friendly faces. Promptly we were ushered into our seats and began to introduced ourselves. It was nice to see so many organisations come together with intentions to make a change.

There was 20 groups and all with important issues to raise. Many schools attended and had their students representing their views. They had all done a lot of homework! They identified their main concern was Redways, with these being unlit at night and often had litter on them. Redways are an important tool to travel to school.

The other member institutions all raised their concerns and things they would like to change. Some of these included: hate crime, burial of Muslim bodies, homelessness, mental health, parking, affordable housing, community relations, economical travel and reliability of public transport.

Once all of the issues were raised we had to prioritise the urgent and important issues, using different coloured post it notes. The atmosphere in the room was powerful. Once the votes were put on the table we were asked to go and stand with our main concern. We formed a group and had a discussion, nominated chair people and then were asked back to our seats. The facilitator then put the main six issues up on the whiteboard and informed us of the next step.  The six main issues are: air pollution, hate crime, homelessness and housing, mental health, one stop cultural centre and Redways.

The training in the beginning of December will be held for the chairs and I have been invited to attend regarding MK Matters, a group run by residents at the YMCA who are looking to make a change. After the training for the chairs all of the groups plan to create an action plan and present this on the 7th February 2017 at the Delegates Assembly for people to vote for the main campaigns.

When 8pm came the students had to leave to go home but the rest of us were asked if we wanted to stay for the evaluation. I felt that this was quite a good end to a fantastic inspirational evening and lots of people shared positive feelings.

As it came to an end I said thank you to the facilitators and made my way home. I had such a good feeling as I went to bed that night knowing that people actually care and are trying to do something, and that I am going to be a part of it.

YMCA Milton Keynes are proud to be able to attend discussions and local focus groups with young people such as Corina who show passion, interest, respect and desire to make a real difference.

Homelessness and Housing along with mental health were amongst those listed as priority issues, do you agree? Feel free to comment below or send us a message with any thoughts you may have.