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YMCA and Howard Group partnership is helping young people find employment


By Ben Comber


Nicholas Bewes and Jonathan Martin at the YMCA on Parkers Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell
Nicholas Bewes and Jonathan Martin at the YMCA on Parkers Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell

They are seeking more Cambridge firms to join their Sleep Easy fundraiser.

A partnership with the Howard Group has allowed the YMCA in Cambridge expand the services it can offer young people.

The organisations have been working together for several years, and after the success of Howard Group’s annual Sleep Easy this year, on a “very cold and wet Friday in March”, the YMCA is in a position to fund both employment services for young people and an app focussed on supporting mental health.

YMCA’s Jonathan Martin and Nicholas Bewes from the Howard Group are now urging more Cambridge firms to join the Sleep Easy in 2019, on March 8.

Jonathan said: “The Howard Group is at the beginning of what we hope is a wave of businesses beginning to have an affinity for their community.”

Homlessness is a growing issue in the city. Jonathan explained how a range of circumstances can lead to young people seeking the YMCA’s services.

“About 20 per cent of people who come to us are from the care system. So they’ve been looked after by the state, in effect, but when they turn 16 different regulations apply so they move in with us, and they’ve never had a home. The number of looked-after children is rising.

“For some it’s family breakdown. Sometimes that’s because of bereavement, sometimes divorce. Many residents come to us having ended up in a household with two step-parents, because of several relationship break-ups.

“Sofa surfing is also an issue. It’s young people who have a roof, but they’re homeless.”

Nicholas said: “challenges and pressures are so much greater now for young people than they ever were for us. It’s little wonder now that mental health is such a growing problem.

“I felt it was really important for us to get our team properly to understand the work the YMCA does. A lot of charities working at the very sharp edge of society a lot of what is done goes unnoticed and unreported, and yet it’s critically important.

“We’re a family owned business, we’ve got long time horizons.

“It’s been very good for us as an organisation to get members of the team collaborating around a cause like Sleep Easy and the team spirit that it engendered within the Howard Group has been phenomenal.

“We’re trying to get a larger cohort to come and do it in 2019, and hopefully get some more organisations involved.”

For more information about Sleep Easy 2019 email ian.knibbs@ymcatrinity.org.uk.



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