Category Archives: media

Cost of a Coffee / Time to Change

Invite to Cost of a Coffee Launch 300dpi

see invitation at
email us if you would like to attend on


Leave a comment

Filed under development, event, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, governance, media, mental health, news, veterans, youth work

Join us for our SAY YES 2 YOUTH Celebration 6 – 7.30 pm on Thursday 24th October 2013 at TN2 Community Centre, Sherwoood, TN2 3LZ

Join us for our SAY YES 2 YOUTH Celebration 6 - 7.30 pm on Thursday 24th October 2013 at TN2 Community Centre, Sherwoood, TN2 3LZ

To RSVP  –  or Tel 01892 542209  |  More info

1 Comment

October 17, 2013 · 7:08 pm

Vote 4 us – help us win £3000 from Lloyds Bank Community Fund

Youth Club

Vote 4 us – help us win £3000 from Lloyds Bank Community Fund

Apprentice Fundraiser Roisin Donovan writes  “I asked Lloyds Bank if they could support our SAY YES 2  YOUTH campaign – as we need to fund immediate counselling for vulnerable young people in a crisis and to engage young people in challenging activities that build confidence and self-esteem”.   Local Lloyds Bank managers and staff were quick to select West Kent YMCA as one of their chosen charities.

Please show your support for West Kent YMCA, our SAY YES 2 YOUTH campaign and our vital life-changing work in our local community by voting in ALL three ways.  

  • online at search for YMCA, select West Kent YMCA,
  • and in person in Tunbridge Wells / Southborough branches of Lloyds Bank,
  • and by texting VOTE MJXB to 61119 (standard text cost only)


Downloads –  our posterour press release | more info & photos



1 Comment

Filed under apprentices, development, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, training, veterans, youth work

HRH The Duke of GloucesterRoyal Visit to West Kent YMCA
Official opening of Ryder House Refurbishment & Extension

We are delighted to be hosting a Royal Visit this week, by
    HRH The Duke of Gloucester  KG, GCVO
HRH has interests that relate to many aspects of our work.  The Duke is associated with over 150 charities and organisations.  His patronages reflect his professional and personal interests and can be grouped under the following themes:

1.  International humanitarian issues; these can be sub-divided into
(a) international development and
(b) disaster prevention and relief
2.  Health issues
3.  Social welfare, community and youth development
4.  Environmental issues and climate change
5.  Social sciences and technology
6.  Culture and the arts
7.  Heritage and the built environment
8.  Military veterans and the disabled community
9.  Armed forces

RHouse Logo COL SM


to find out more, get updates and see our press release

Leave a comment

October 8, 2013 · 8:27 pm

Apprenticeships chosen over university by more young people than ever!

YMCA Friends launch apprenticesApprenticeships are making the news this month, with the BBC News Website explaining the rising popularity.

West Kent YMCA employs several apprentices across the organisation, including 5 undertaking Youth Work qualifications and 2 undertaking Fundraising qualifications as part of their on the job training and development.

All our apprentices are active and involved members of their teams, taking responsibility for many tasks and supporting each other through the process. The youth work apprentices work from our outreach project ‘Vehicle for Change’, connecting with young people in isolated locations across the area, helping to set up youth groups and signposting to employment, training and work opportunities and other support agencies and much more. Our fundraising apprentices help form a team undertaking tasks such as bid writing, event planning, co-ordinating individual giving such as sponsored activities, updating funders and planning PR and campaigns.

They attended our ‘Say Yes 2 Youth’ Campaign launch, meeting many V.I.Ps, partner organisations and our new Patrons.

Enthusiastic and energetic, an apprentice can be a great asset to any organisation, with competitions such as ‘Apprentice of the Year’ spurring them on to achieve more and be truly recognised in their field. One of the apprentices here at West Kent YMCA, Helen Campbell is a finalist for ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ Love Where You Live Award!

Kent High Sheriff Lord Colgrain, who visited us recently, says : “I feel strongly about the training of young people, especially young offenders. The more we can get companies to set up apprenticeships the more we can help in that process, because there is going to be less and less government money available.”

West Kent YMCA encourages residents to seek employment and training, with many going into an apprenticeship as this is the perfect way to gain valuable qualifications and experience, making them strong competitors for many roles within the workplace and moving them forward in life.  Contact us to find out more on

Leave a comment

Filed under apprentices, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, training, Uncategorized, youth work

Young Volunteer of the Year



HOMELESS at 17 and without a penny to her name, Helen Campbell felt driven to give back to the charity that saved her.  When the 21-year-old of Frant Road, in Tunbridge Wells was a teenager, she did not have a good relationship with her father.  Following a family argument when she was 17, she began sleeping on the streets.

Vehicle 4 Change is a project that reaches out to disadvantaged, at risk and hard-to-reach young people.  When youth workers found Helen on the streets, they offered her a place to live.

Since getting her life together, Helen has wanted to give back.  She said: “If it wasn’t for the V4C I would have done nothing or something worse. Not only have they given me a place to live and helped me with my CV, but they have kept me out of trouble.”

                              “Now I am starting to feel like I have a future.”

Helen dedicates 30 hours a week to help young, vulnerable people within the community – collecting food for the homeless, meeting young people in parks and helping out on trips and activities at the weekend.

Since securing her own place and showing incredible determination to the cause, Helen has landed the role of Youth Worker as part of a Youth Work Apprentice Programme.  It is a huge accomplishment for Helen who initially undertook the Youth Champions Programme, a scheme designed to provide positive progression within young people.

“The project has helped me with my confidence as well as kept me fit and healthy,” she said. “It has opened my eyes and shown me there are good people in the world. I am so thankful.”

to see more about all the Young Volunteer of the Year contenders in the Love Where We Live awards click here >

OTHER AWARDS     We have also been nominated for:

Ethical Business of the Year contender

Ethical Business of the Year contender

1 Comment

September 18, 2013 · 3:55 am

Courier Heart of the Community – please VOTE for us 1017

Courier Heart of the Community awards – please VOTE for us 1017

Please VOTE for us to win a share of £15,000

KS HEART 1017 West Kent YMCA_

Send  a  TEXT  to  65100  saying   KS HEART 1017 Name House no Postcode

example to 65100 – KS HEART 1017 Jane 91 TN1 2BPHOC_VOTE_QR

OR scan this with your phone >> and text it

KS HEART 1017 please VOTE for us

Texts cost 50p plus your standard text charge     Thank you!

Thank you to the sponsors of these awards – AXA PPP, Sevenoaks Chronicle, Kent & Sussex Courier

1 Comment

Filed under apprentices, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, social enterprise, training, youth work

WELCOME to Rob’s latest blog and WELCOME to all our new staff, volunteers and board members.

WELCOME to our latest newsletter and WELCOME to all our new staff, volunteers and board members.

Just a few highlights:

  • David Atkin has qualified as a Tutor in Carpentry in the Horizon Project
    – Well done to David  and all who helped to train you so well!
  • Emily Hunt has become a Housing Support Worker in Ryder House – where she will continue her youth work apprenticeship!
    – Well done to Emily  and to V4C & Ryder House for giving you this great opportunity.
  • The Warehouse team are finalists in the Tunbridge Wells Love Where We Live  Award – ethical local business.  Well done!      You are also long-listed for a Santander £50,000 social development award!
  • Henry Smith charity are considering a strong V4C grant application.sayyes2youth_wkymca1.png
  • Our SAY YES! 2Youth campaign has got off to a great start!
    • A Y PARTY by Carol & David Wake
    • A Y PARTY by Dawn & David Grant
    • Olly Payne’s amazing sponsored triathlon  – nearly £1000!
    • Shortlist of 4 for Lloyds Banking Group £3000 grant –  public  voting starts soon – watch for details and well done to Roisin!
    • Some donations made by people using the Pagoda Centre
    • The NCS course sponsored leg wax [not mine!] and cake sale in Tunbridge Wells during Friday 23rd August.

We can look forward to more challenges and even more achievements!

  • Open day and opening of the RYDER HOUSE extension & refurbishment on 10th October.
  •   Our SAY YES! 2YOUTH open evening at TN2 on 24th October.
  •     Rolling out more work on DofE Awards, Juice Bars, U TURN 
  •       Recruiting younger board members – who do you suggest ?

Thank you all for your team work, making a real difference.   I hope you all find some peace, joy, fun and refreshment this summer. 

T H A N K       Y O U  !            Rob

Leave a comment

Filed under apprentices, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, patrons, Quarterly Blog, social enterprise, training, Uncategorized, youth work

West Kent YMCA Blog

We can looJB_p1k back on a very challenging 3 months – appalling snow, then rain, some intensive working in every project, developing Juice Bars, a real step change in raising funds and our profile.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Launching “SAY YES! 2 Youth” a 1 year, £25,000 campaign to fund a Safe Space and Youth Opportunities during a packed VIP launch event.
  • imagesCAPN6CMXWe now have two national figures as Patrons – to champion our work. – The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff who chairs Housing Justice; and Sir Jonathan Evans who recently retired as the Head of the Security Service (MI5). They are joined by over 50 Friends of West Kent YMCA including Greg Clark MP, Jan Berry who used to chair the Police Federation, TCHG, AXA-PPP, Lloyds TSB and many others.
  • We are now a directly licensed centre for Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
  • We have several potential trustees with educational and marketing experience and professional advice on legal/property matters.
  • We beat our projected budget achieving a small surplus of £20k about 1.5% of turnover – well done all! [This year is going to be just as challenging but given good team work in every centre and project we can do it again.]

We can look forward to more challenges and even more achievements.

Our new Family FUN Day on Saturday 15th June needs maximum support and publicity . Please get involved in any way you can – don’t leave it to others.

Building ougroupr network of patrons, friends, local contacts and press coverage.

We have another year of funding for U TURN.

Thank you all for your hard work – making a difference – Rob CEO

Leave a comment

Filed under apprentices, friends of West Kent YMCA, fundraising news, housing, media, news, patrons, Quarterly Blog, social enterprise, training, youth work