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Christopher’s New Life as a YMCA Volunteer

03 November 2017

At YMCA Norfolk we value all our volunteers, and Christopher is no exception. With his experience of homelessness and family break-up, he is the perfect role model for the young people attending the YMCA Youth Clubs where he now volunteers. Here, Christopher takes up the story.

“Before coming to YMCA Norfolk I was living with my partner and child. Unfortunately, my relationship broke up and because there was a child involved I voluntarily gave the family home up to my partner, which in turn made me homeless.

I first went to Stoneham Housing and spoke to one of their support workers who helped me to complete a Hostel Application Form.  Once this was received by the YMCA, I was contacted for an assessment which lead to me being housed. I have now been living with the YMCA for a year.

With the support of my Engagement Worker, I have been gaining a regular income, applying for jobs and training. They have provided me with continuous practical life skills training to help me towards independent living.

During this time, I met up with the Senior Youth Engagement worker at the YMCA and began volunteering for the YMCA Youth Clubs in Acle, Caister on Sea and Catton Grove. I have begun engaging in YMCA Training and am looking to begin a traineeship with the YMCA Norfolk youth clubs.

My Engagement Worker is helping me to complete my training, alongside the YMCA Youth and Community team. I want to gain the skills to be able to access employment in the support work sector, carrying out a similar role to that of my engagement worker. I want to be able to help people who have been through the same struggles as me.

The YMCA has made me more motivated, and in turn I do a lot more activities. They have helped me learn to manage the various responsibilities I have in my life, and taught me how to navigate them in a positive manner.
I don’t have one favourite experience, I could sit here and list loads, being at YMCA Norfolk is just a positive experience!”